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U K. £2.95 MARCH #26. 


King of Thii 
steals the 





S4.99 U.S./S6.50 CANADA 
0 3 

0 71896"49128" 9 

NUMBER 260 MARCH 1999 


Stealing scenes & taking names, 
Bruce Campbell rules 


They're making a movie of the 
space gaming adventure 


Stephen Roloff produces 
the show & designs it as well 


Humans! Gaze upon their 
wonders. ..and despair 


Here's what certain Starfleet 
terms might really mean 


Veteran writer Michael Piller 
plots the newest Insurrection 


F. Murray Abraham is not just 
the man who killed Mozart 


Years ago, Lynda Carter was 
everyone's favorite Amazon 


Lou Diamond Phillips faces 
outer space terrors 


Listen as the actor hears 
a disturbing Stir of Echoes 


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...I'm writing in response to all 
the negative letters and reviews 
I've read on the Lost in Space 
motion picture. It has been 
months since its release, and I 
haven't heard one good thing yet 
from the critics or fans. STAR- 
LOG has been one of the few 
publications that has only pre- 
sented information about the 
movie, with no added (good or 
bad) review. I'm a firm believer 
in letting the audience find out 
for themselves. 

But I want to direct this letter 
to the fans of Lost in Space. The . 
real culprits. I've been biting my | 
tongue long enough! Your main a 
gripe about the film has been that | 
it wasn't the Lost in Space we & 
grew up with. It didn't have the 
same feel as the '60s TV series. It 
was neither dramatic nor sus- 
penseful, and had no family 
appeal. Well, how could it have 
been the same? Let's face it, it 
has been 30 years, and it was 
never going to be the same! With 
all new faces in front of and 
behind the camera, how could 
you think it wouldn't be differ- 
ent?!!! I went to the theater to 
view this film as a whole new 
creation, as we all should have. I 
put my fond memories of the 
classic series aside and took on 
the persona of a new traveler to 
the Lost in Space Universe. And 
because I did this, I came away 
thrilled with it all. 

They did have the family 
interaction (maybe dysfunctional 
at times), but very believable by 
today's standards. The problems 
that the Robinsons encountered 
during their journey presented 

many dramatic moments. The 
scenes with the Jupiter 2 going 
into hyperdrive to escape the Sun 
and fly through the planet to use 
its own gravity field to get them 
into space were so suspenseful, I 
was sitting on the edge of my 
seat! I can't understand some 
fans wanting to destroy some- 
thing we waited so long to get. 
From the moment I heard of the 
possibility of a Lost in Space 
movie to the time it actually pre- 
miered, more than 15 years had 
passed! We fans needed to 
embrace this film and make it a 
success so that New Line Cinema 
could create us a franchise. 

If things weren't quite right, 
they could have done some 
retooling with the next film. Take 
Star Trek, for example; after its 
debut film, they corrected the 
errors. They now have a ninth 

do just that. All we now have to 
show for our fandom are videos 
of a classic series, a video of a 
remake film and our stubborn- 
ness that keeps all of us Lost fans 
(again) one step behind the Star 
Trek Universe. Thank you, New 
Line Cinema, for a great film. 
You just misjudged the audience. 
They are not as loyal as you or I 
thought. How sad after such a 
long wait! 

Alan Andrews 

962 Oriole Avenue 

Akron, Ohio 44312 


...While I like the fact that you 
are paying attention to DS9 
(STARLOG #258), what a dis- 
criminatory poll ! 

We can vote for two charac- 
ters in the Federation category 



Wool fife's 

film in release, and a franchise to 
be proud of — a franchise that we 
have no chance of realizing with 
Lost in Space. Star Trek fans 
have said for some time that we 
Lost in Space fans are second- 
class citizens compared to their 
fandom. Well, I'm afraid now 
they can — and will — continue to 

Mail cannot be forwarded. Other 
fans and advertisers sometimes 
contact readers whose letters are 
printed here. To avoid this, mark 
your letter "Please Withhold My 
Address." Otherwise, we retain 
the option to print it. 

475 Park Avenue South, 

8th Floor 

New York, NY 10016 
or E-mail: 

@ s tarloggroup .com 

and for two aliens who are 
friendly to the Federation, but 
only one for the alien antago- 

If you are going to be able to 
vote for two in the "Starfleet's 
Finest" and "Ultimate Aliens" 
categories, then all categories 
should be two. And why, if the 
only criterion is being "alien" or 
non-human, aren't Dukat, Wey- 
oun, Damar, etc. in the "Ultimate 
Aliens" category? Or why isn't 
there a "Choice Cardassian" cat- 

And what is with the "Holo- 
grams & Writers" category? As 
there is only one of each, this 
isn't enough of a choice to vote 
for anyone. 

In future, please have a fair 
poll with a choice of 1 , 2, 3 so we 
can rate our choices. 

Holly K. Wilson 

Peahala Park, NJ 



Executive Vice President 


Associate Publisher 


V.P./Circulation Director 


Executive Art Director 



Managing Editor 


Associate Editor 


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Contributing Editors 




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Art Director 


West Coast Correspondents 


Financial Director: Joan Baetz 
Marketing Director: Frank Rosner 
circulation Manager: Maria Damiani 
Art: Yvonne Jang, John DInsdale, 
Dmitriy ostrovskiy, Marco Turelli. 
Staff: Debbie irwin, Dee Erwine, Jose 
Soto, David Bone, sunny Witchel. 
Correspondents: (LAI Pat 
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Chaikin, Douglas Cramer, Paul David, 
Jennifer Howd, Howard Green, Mary 
Alice Green, Georges Jeanty, Ron 
Jenks, Leah Krantzler, Rand Marlis, 
Todd Moyer, Lou Diamond Phillips, 
Tom Phillips, Herbie J. Pilato, Michael 
Piller, Chris Roberts, Stephen Roloff, 
Karen Samflippo, Cyd Swank, Lyle 
Waggoner, Jeff walker, Alex Worman. 
Cover Art: Wing Commander: Copy- 
right 1999 Digital Anvil; Campbell: 
Copyright 1999 Studios USA; Wonder 
Woman: Copyright 1999 DC comics/ 
Copyright 1976 Warner Bros. TV; 
Final conflict: Copyright 1999 Tri- 
bune Entertainment. 
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Steven Spielberg has decided 
to make an SF fdm his next 
directorial project. He'll helm 
Minority Report, the movie ver- 
sion of a Philip K. Dick story. 
Tom Cruise will star. The movie's 
a co-production of DreamWorks 
and 20th Century Fox. 

Paul (Starship Troopers) Ver- 
hoeven is also returning to the 
genre with The Hollow Man. 
Andrew Marlowe has scripted 
this invisibility project. Jennifer 
Lopez co-stars. 

Sequels: Looks like there 
may be a Terminator 3 after all. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger would 
not do it without Jim Cameron. 
And Cameron wouldn't do it 
unless his Lightstorm Entertain- 
ment could produce it with 20th 
Century Fox. But the film rights 
were elsewhere. Now, Fox has 
acquired those rights and the 
idea's under discussion. 
Cameron might not direct this 
encore, just write and produce it. 

Shooting has begun — literal- 
ly, of course — on Universal Sol- 
dier II. This theatrical sequel, 
separate from the two teleflick 
spin-offs starring Matt Battaglia 
seen on the Movie Channel last 
fall, once again stars Jean- 
Claude Van Damme. This time, 
he squares off against wrestler- 
turned-actor (Bill) Goldberg and 
Spawn's Michael Jai White. 
William Malone & John Fasano 
scripted. Mic Rodgers directs. 

Genre TV: Plagued by low- 
rated vacations, Fantasy Island 
has been closed down by ABC. 
See your local travel agents for 
reimbursement for charter trips 
not taken. 

Time slot switches were 
made for 3rd Rock from the Sun 
(now Tuesdays, 8 p.m.) and the 
borderline fantasy Cupid (Thurs- 
days, 9 p.m.). Seven Days has 
been renewed for the rest of its 
first season (nine more episodes). 
Brimstone has a six-episode 

The Sci-Fi Channel is surfing 
the First Wave, the alien invaders 
series created by Chris Brancato 
(STARLOG #251). Airing since 

fall 1998 in Canada, First Wave 
arrives on SFC next month. The 
Sci-Fi Channel has already com- 
mitted to three years (66 
episodes) of the show. 

SFC has acquired rerun rights 
to a trio of short-lived genre 
shows that never realized their 
true potential: The Burning 
Zone, Dark Skies and The Visitor. 

Fox has scheduled Opening 
the Lost Tombs: Live from Egypt, 
an intriguing if gimmicky two- 
hour special, for next month. 
Direct from the Giza Plateau, an 
archaeological team will open 
the pyramid of Queen Khamere- 
mebty II and the recently discov- 
ered, sealed Tomb of the 
Unknown — all live on television. 
What will they find? Al Capone's 
treasure? King Tut's curse? More 
tana leaves? Find out March 2. 

In a truly unlikely move, Fox 
has commissioned a pilot script 
for a potential TV series version 
of the 1984 cult film, The Adven- 
tures ofBuckaroo Banzai: Across 
the Eighth Dimension, penned by 
the movie's writer Earl Mac 
Rauch. Although the movie was 
a spectacular iwsuccess at the 
box office, murmurs that Bucka- 
roo Banzai would move to TV 
began circa 1985. Of course, the 
script still has to be OKed, a pilot 
approved and a series sold — so 
fans shouldn't break out the 
champagne just yet. 

Red Sonja may join Conan on 
the syndicated TV series front. 
Threshold Entertainment — 
which is taking over and 
relaunching the barbarian (still to 
be played by Ralf Moeller) this 
fall — is also developing a sister 
show based on the Robert E. 
Howard heroine. 

USA will air a new four-hour 
series adaptation of Jules Verne's 
Journey to the Center of the 
Earth. It'll be shot in New 
Zealand by director George 
Miller (the one who helmed The 
Man from Snowy River, not the 
George Miller behind the Mad 
Max & Babe movies and The 
Witches of Eastviick). 

Genre People: 
FX wizard Ken Ral- 
ston, now President 
of Sony Imageworks, 
is developing a 
remake of Colum- 
bia's 1961 film ver- 
sion of Verne's 
Mysterious Island. 

John de Lancie 
and Leonard Nimoy 
are taking Alien Voic- 
es to another level. 
They're partnering 
with New Line Tele- 
vision to develop TV 
movies based on 
classic SF works. The 
initial effort may be a 
new version of H.G. 
Wells' First Men in 
the Moon. 

That retired Man 
from U.N.C.L.E., 
Robert Vaughn is 
writing his autobiog- 

Character Cast- 
ings: Jeri Ryan 
returns to guest star 
on The Sentinel in a 
resolution of last sea- 
son's cliffhanger. air- 
ing February 8 on 
UPN. She's "The 
Sentinel Too." 

Susanna Thomp- 
son — seen in DS9's 
"Rejoined" as Dax's 
former lover — rules 
as the Borg Queen in 
the "Dark Frontier" 
Voyager two-parter 
broadcast this month. 

Jim Byrnes (i.e. 
Watcher Joe Daw- 
son) makes his long- 
awaited return to the 
Highlander Universe 
in "A Matter of 
Time," a Raven exploit airing the 
week of February 1 . 

Alas, the beloved Desmond 
Llewelyn is retiring from his 
longtime role as Q, the irascible 
gadgeteer who has supplied 
James Bond with marvelous, 
deadly toys since 1963. The 85- 


Release dates are extremely 
subject to change. 
March: My Favorite Mar- 
tian, The 13th Floor, Carrie 2. 

April: The Matrix, Talos the 
Mummy, eXistenZ. 

May: Star Wars: The Phan- 
tom Menace, The Mummy. 

Summer: The 13th Warrior, 
Dudley Do-Right, Inspector 
Gadget, Lake Placid. 

June: Tarzan, Muppets in 
Space, Austin Powers: The Spy 
Who Shagged Me. 

July: The Wild Wild West, 
Mystery Men, The Deep Blue 
Sea, Sleepy Hollow. 

August: Lost Souls. 

September: Stigmata. 

October: Heavy Metal: 
F.A.K.K. 2, Stir of Echoes, 

Jeri Ryan lends her allure to 
another season premiere. 
She's "The Sentinel Too." 

year-old actor is supposed to 
make his last appearance in The 
World Is Not Enough, the new 
007 movie currently shooting in 
England and Turkey. Michael 
Apted's directing from a script 
by Bruce (Tomorrow Never Dies) 
Feirstein and Neal Purvis. 

Sophie (Braveheart) Marceau 
plays Elektra King, the daughter 
of a murdered businessman that 
Bond (Pierce Brosnan) didn't 
guard quite successfully enough. 

And who has been cast as the 
film's other Bond girl, Dr. 
Christmas Jones? Why, one of 
the Starship Troopers profiled in 
STARLOG #246. Namely 
Denise Richards. 

She plays a nuclear scientist. 

— David McDonnell 

8 STARLOG/Mo/r/; 1999 

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Another disgruntled former 
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STARLOG/Marc/i 1999 


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Ready to rock? Activision 
warns that PC and Sony 
PlayStation owners better be, 
because Asteroids ($39.95) has 
returned, and they're bigger than 

That's right 
folks, one of the 
hottest video games 
ever has made its way 
back into our galaxy, 
and it has been updated 
for the new Millennium 

Sure, there's a story, but 
it doesn 't really matter — 
gamers still had a blast 
with this massive arcade 
hit that was among the 
first to be licensed to a 
home video game sys 
tern. Anyway, here 
goes: You and your 
ship work for the 
Astro-Mining Cor- 
poration, and 
you've been 
selected to blast 
through asteroids 
so that the corpora 
tion can reach the 
valuable ore 
deposits that lie 
beyond. You're 
also clearing paths so that mili- 
tary and civilian ships can pass 
through safely, since it seems 
Earth's at war with some nasty 

The new game combines the 
classically simple concept with 3- 
D visuals and various back- 

Duels to be fought, blade to blade 

grounds. Choose one of four 
ships (speed and strength varies 
with each, so choose wisely) for 
your mission and blast asteroids. 
Added enemies, new weaponry 
and power-ups, and all sorts of 
asteroids intensify the experi- 
ence, and the mission varies with 
each "zone" you're in. In one 

zone, you're in a black hole, try- 
ing to clear the way for cargo 
ships while avoiding the hole's 
pull. Another zone has you dodg- 
ing solar flares while blasting at 
ancient crystal asteroids. Other 
zones include blasting 
in the mid- 
dle of an 
alien space- 
worm breeding 
area, or pre- 
venting Earth's 
destruction from an 
alien counter- 
assault. Best of all, 
the original arcade 
version is hidden 
in the game as 

You may 
wonder if 
realty needed 
to remake 
Asteroids , 
but you'll find 
that this one is 
done fairly well. 
Although it 
was released 
at a cheaper 
price than 
most new PSX or PC games, the 
suggested retail price is still a bit 
high for a 20-year-old game. 
Hopefully, retailers are knocking 
a few bucks off so gamers young 
and old can rock on. 

If intense combat is your 
game, you'll find it in 989 Stu- 
dios' CyberStrike 2 
($39.99), available on CD- 
ROM for Windows 95/98 
users. Upon learning of a 
new star system via a 
wormhole near Mars, 
colonists settled on the 
beautiful, hospitable planet 
of Syren. Unfortunately, 
mega-corporations learned 
of the planet's abundance 
of tritium-platinum, the 
only known catalyst for 
cold fusion, and went to 
war with one another over 
ownership rights. Combined with 
the wormhole's sudden collapse 
and explosions which created 
massive ecological destruction, 
the mega-corporations fall, while 
the lost colonists split into 
clans — the Terran Alliance and 
the Disciples of Apocalypse. 
Equipped with cyberpods (and 

Yo-ho! It's a pirate's life for ye — 
and Blackbeard— in RedJack: 
Revenge of the Brethren. 

individually detailed cinematic 
storyline sequences), the clans 
now battle over the few resources 
left on Syren. 

Despite some resemblance to 
games like MechWarrior, Cyber- 
Strike 2 is still thoroughly enjoy- 
able. The terrific 3-D landscapes 
are lavish and colorful, and the 
action, while a bit complex, is 
still easy enough to follow. You 
can choose the variables of each 
mission, such as the time of day. 
battle locale and strength of you 
and your enemy, and Microsoft 
Direct 3D and 3Dfx Glide tech- 
nology offers real-time mmgmm 
lighting and pyrotech- 
nic effects, as well as 
seamless indoor/out- 
door environments. 

Perhaps one of the 
most appealing aspects 
of this game is the 
multi-player support. 
While there are 20 sin- 
gle-player missions per 
clan, up to 32 players 
can play in each com- 
bat environment. In 
addition, thousands of 
players can battle simultaneously 
via the Internet, and a main 
online menu allows players to 
strategize with clan teammates, 
formulate tournament play, check 
out other clan members and their 
stats, even talk the opposition 
right out of the battle. Consider 
yourself advised to strike out and 
take part in this entertaining 

Avast, ye swabs! 
lookin' fer a game 
with lotsa salty talk 
and runnin' around, 
then buckle yer swash 
to the PC or Macin- 
tosh and play THQ's 
RedJack: Revenge of 
the Brethren ($39.99). 
Brought to ye by the 
folks who raised up 
Titanic: Adventure 
Out of Time, RedJack 
isn't anything we 
haven't seen on the Pirates of the 
Caribbean ride — swordplay, 
dodging beer bottles, pistols, can- 
nons and...ninjas!? — but it still 
has enough charm (and plenty o' 

The plot's simple: You're 
Nicholas Dove. You need money 
to marry yer gal, and the leg- 
endary Pirate RedJack's buried 
swag (treasure for all ye landlub- 
bers) is the quickest way to get it. 
However, you have to become a 
pirate and do things like fight 
sharks, discover who betrayed 

RedJack, go to prison, walk the 
plank... you know, the usual. Fan- 
tasy elements like ninjas and 
ghosts keep RedJack from 
becoming dull, but superfluous 
questions you must ask the three- 
dimensional interactive charac- 
ters (and there's a healthy amount 
of them, too) weigh down the 
game's forward movement like 
leg irons. And if you revisit cer- 
tain characters, they might tell 
you or give you something they 
didn't the first time, which can be 
really annoying unless you're a 
skilled gamer who anticipates 


As a gamegoing swashbuckler, there are 
cannons to be fired... 

such things. 

Nevertheless, if you want to 
hone your skills for tougher 
games or give a present to some- 
one who likes pirates, RedJack is 
a solid CD-ROM game. The vio- 
lence is fairly tame, the puzzles 
are a passing challenge, and it's 
easy enough for anyone to mas- 
ter the simultaneous mouse-and- 
keypad controls for the 


A number of locale changes 
and interesting camera angles 
heighten the fun (though a lot of 
wasted scenery does nothing). 
The graphics and textures are a 
cut above, and the voices, sound 
and dialogue are what you would 
expect from buccaneers. Overall, 
me hearties, RedJack: Revenge of 
the Brethren has all the elements 
to be a rollicking fantasy game 
and will keep ye pretty jolly, 
roger. But a treasure? They 
shoulda dug a little deeper. 

— Michael McAvennie 


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Some issues are in short supply! Order now while supplies last! 


#1 Premiere Issue. Interviews: 
Co-creator Rick Berman, 
designer Richard James, pilot 
director Rick Kolbe. Designs." 
Regular Edition: $7 Foiled 
Edition: $15. 

#2 Tim Russ & Garrett Wang 
interviews. Michael 
Westmore's makeup secrets. 
Six synopses. $7. 

#3 Interviews: Ethan Phillips, 
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#4 Interviews: Co-creator 
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music. Three synopses. $7. 

#5 Interviews: Kate Mulgrew, 
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#6 John de Lancie explains 
why Q's back. Interviews: Joel 
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#7 Robert Beltran & Martha 
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Five synopses. $7. 

#8 Interview: Wang. Designing 
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#9 Sorry, sold out! 

#10 Interviews: Robert Picardo 
& co-creator Jeri Taylor. 
Quoting the Doctor'? wit & 
wisddm. Voyager, the CD-ROM 
game. Crew fold-out poster. $7. 

* #11 Interviews: Robert Duncan 
McNeill, Ed Begley Jr. The art 
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#12 Roxann Dawson 

unmasked! New gatefold 
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■#14 Jeri Ryan speaks! Bonus 
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tial Borg), Lawrence, Hackett, 
George Takei & Susan Diol. $7. 

#1 5 The five directors behind 25 
episodes. Six men of Voyager 
posters. 'Three synopses. $7. 

#16 Spectacular CGI FX 
secrets exposed. Posters: FX 
sequences, Mulgrew, Ryan, 
Dawson, Lien & Michael 
McKean. Seven synopses. $7. 

#17 Interviews: Russ, Wang, 
Andy Dick. Six synopses. 
Posters: Ryan, Russ, Wang, 
Hirogen & Species 8472. $7. 

#18 Interviews: Picardo, 
Kurtwood Smith, Anthony de * 
Longis, writers Ken Biller & 
Bryan Fuller. Posters: Mulgrew, 
Picardo, Ryan, Phillips, Russ, 
Virginia Madsen. $7. 

#19 Final Issue! Seven syn- 
opses, wrapping up the fourth 
season. Posters. $7. 


#1 Premiere Issue— Gold 
cover! "Emissary." synopsis. 
On the DS9 set. Interview: 
Michael Westmore. Posters: 
Colm Meaney, Avery Brooks, 
Alexander Siddig, cast. $10. 

#2 Interviews: Brooks, Siddig, 
Nana Visitor, Terry Farrell, 
Armin Shimerman. Posters: 
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Visitor, Shimerman. $7. 

#3 Interviews: Co-creator 
Michael Piller, designer Herman 
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Lynch. Synopses from "Past 
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#4 All-station log issue, featur- 
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the entire first season, from 
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Four second season synopses. 
Posters: Marc Alaimo, Visitor, 
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Eisenberg, Alaimo. Posters: 
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Ashbrook. $7. 

#7 All-station log issue, nine 
synopses, "Rules of 
Acquisition" to "Paradise." 
Posters: Visitor, Auberjonois, 
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#8 Interviews: William 
Campbell, writers. Six syn- 
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#12 Interviews: Shimerman, 
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Louise Fletcher. Nine synopsf 
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"Adversary." $7. 


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at Farpoint." Posters: 
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Posters. $15. 

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Dorn. Five synopses. 
Posters. $7. 

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#6 Nine synopses complet- 
ing Season J. Bridge sets. 
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#7 Dom. Next Generation 
art: Weapons & uniform 
designs. Four synopses. $7. 

#8 Diana Muldaur. Trek 
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Posters. $7. 

#9 Trek comics. Nine 
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past 8 I 
present: i M 
How they 
made the ! 



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Posters. $7 

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Ronald D. Moore. Seven 
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posers. Seven synopses 
completing Season 3. $7. 

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synopses. $7. 

#16 Costumer, writer, novel 
artist. Eight synopses. $7. 

#17 Leonard Nimoy, Sirtis. 
Seven synopses complet- 
ing Season 4. $7. 

#18 Nimoy, composer. 
Nine synopses. $7.' 

#19 All-director issue, 10 
interviews. $7. 

#20 Bebe Neuwirth, direc- 
tor Robert Scheerer. Trivia 
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#21 Directors, writers. 
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#22 All-writers issue, 15 
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#23 Directors, writers. 
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#29 Q'sWit, five writers. 
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#30 Deluxe final issue. * 
Season milestones.. 21 por- 
traits. Nine synopses com- 
pleting Season 7. S10. 





































5 5 
o « 

» 55 

8 a 

3 52 a 
CO oc - 
C LU | 
U> Q o 

J- CO 
3 T D. 

#14 Sorry, sold out! 

#15 Interviews: Siddig, 
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Barrett, Chase Masterson & 
Mark Allen Shepherd, 
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#17 Brooks interview. 
Posters: Brooks, cast. Nine 
synopses from "Rules of 
Engagement" to "Broken 
Link.- $7. . 

#18 Farrell interview. DS9 
comics. Posters: Dom, 
Farrell, Shimerman, 

Auberjonois. Four syn- ■ 
opses. $7. 

#19 Shimerman interview. 
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Siddig, Meaney. Seven 
synopses. $7. 

#20 DS9 women interviews: 
Chao, Masterson, Felecia M. 
Bell. Posters: Farrell, Visitor, 
Chao, Masterson, Bell. The" 
Art of DS9. $7. 

#21 Interviews: Jeffrey- 
Combs, Wallace Shawn, 
J.G. Hertzler. Posters: ' 
Louise Fletcher, Combs, 
Shawn, Hertzler, 
Grodenchik. Rules of 
Acquisition wall poster. $7. 

#22 Interviews: Dorn, 
Farrell, Shimerman & direc- 
tor Cliff Bole. Five syn- 

opses. Posters: Dom & 
Farrell (wedded & solo), 
Shimerman, Brooks, Siddig, 
Auberjonois, Meaney. $7. 

#23 All sixth season station 
log issue, 10 synopses from 
"A Time to Stand" to 
"Statistical Improbabilities." 
Posters: Alaimo, Lofton, 
Anglim, Visitor, Melanie 
Smith, Marc Worden. $7. 

#24 Interviews: Casey 
Biggs, Smith, Meaney. Six 
synopses. Posters: Brooks, 
Dom, Visitor, Meaney, 
Biggs, Shepherd. $7. 

#25 Final issue! 10 syn- 
opses wrapping up the 
sixth season, "Wrongs 
Darker Than Death or 
Night" to "Tears of the. 
Prophets." Posters. $7. 










8 * 





iS =**= 
c/5 =tfc 



C/5 Sfc' 






1) ^ 

C/5 =tfc 







Mockingbird by Sean Stewart 
(Ace, hardcover, 279 pp, 

With Mockingbird, Sean 
Stewart cements his reputation as 
one of the best new fantasy writ- 
ers around. 

Elena Beauchamp is a Hous- 
ton woman who regularly finds 
herself possessed by any one of 
six unusual gods. After her death, 
her daughter Toni hopes that life 
will become more normal. But 
one of Elena's last acts was to 
insure that her magic would 
never die, and Toni soon discov- 
ers that "normal" is only a distant 

This is a marvelous fantasy, 
written at a time when marvelous 
fantasies have become few and ; 
far between. Stewart's perspec- 1| 
tive makes Toni Beauchamp abl 
wonderfully three-dimensional f>| 
character, and his prose is emi- 
nently readable. Stewart alsojl 
understands southeast M 

Texas. ..which only adds to this A 
fantasy. ml 
—Michael Wolff §| 


White Light by William Barton | 
and Michael Capobianco 1 
(Avon, trade paperback, 368 D 
pp, $13) 

Lost in Space fans who won- 
dered how the concept would 
have worked with a far more dys- 
functional family might well 
consider picking this volume up. 
Desperate for survival, a dying 
Earth sends a small team into 
space to contact an alien entity 
working to preserve all life 
throughout the universe. Circum- 
stances being what they are, 
however, the representatives of 
humanity are not selected from 
among The Right Stuff. Rather. 

they are pulled from the pages of 
daytime soap opera. 

Not since Larry Niven and 
Jerry Pournelle has there been 
such a happy result of collabora- 
tion as between William Barton 
and Michael Capobianco. White 
Light is a literary treasure. The 
story's characters aren't rooted in 
the cliches of yesterday but rep- 
resent the values of classic SF 
adventure reflected in today's 
realities and mores. The novel 
falls somewhere between space 
opera and humanistic morality 
play, offering readers a thorough- 
ly enjoyable time. 

—Michael Wolff 

Distraction by Bruce Sterling 
(Bantam Spectra, hardcover, 
432 pp, $23.95) 

In the dystopian future of 
2044, the United States is a frag- 
mented entity where cities are 
privately owned, the military is 
out-of-control and the planet is 
choking in its own industrial 
waste. Into this chaotic world 
strides Oscar Valparaiso, a once- 
brilliant political spin doctor now 
roaming the country in a techno- 
logically advanced bus, looking 
for opportunities. 


Distraction is short on plot, 
but long on ideas. In the early 
1970s, the late John Brunner 
wrote a number of ground-break- 
ing prophetic novels — Stand on 
Zanzibar, The Sheep Look Up 
and Shockwave Rider — which 
took then-current trends and 
extrapolated from them merci- 
lessly bleak futures. Twenty-five 
years later, these predictions, 
while exaggerated and wrong on 
the details, have mostly come 
true. With Holy Fire and, now, 
Distraction, Bruce Sterling is 

following the same pattern. Dis- 
traction is what Tom Wolfe 
would write if he were to emulate 
Jules Verne. 

— Jean-Marc Lofficier 

Beholder's Eye by Julie 
Czerneda (DAW, paperback, 
368 pp, $5.99) 

Esen-Alit-Quar, member of 
the shape-changing race of the 
Web. is on an exploratory mis- 
sion to an alien planet when cir- 
cumstances force her into contact 
with Paul Ragem, member of a 
starship crew representing the 
Human Commonwealth. The 
laws of the Web have laid strict 
injunctions against revealing 
itself to the humans but, as in 
many SF adventures before, 
Necessity is a real Mother. 

Julie Czerneda's making a 
nice start in the genre. She's not 
making the common mistake of 
trying to outdo Olaf Stapeldon 
early in her career, nor is she 
falling back on safe oversimplifi- 
cation. The plot of Beholder's 
Eye will strike chords with read- 
ers familiar with the work of C.J. 
Cherryh or Hal Clement, but 
Czerneda stamps this with her 
own style, proving that a story 
told from the viewpoint of an 
alien race is worth reading when 
properly handled. The character 
of Esen-Alit-Quar, along with 
her shapeshifting abilities, is 
fleshed out cleanly, as is Ragem, 
her human partner. The result is a 
happy mixture of the genre's 
working classic conventions with 
the abilities of a contemporary 

—Michael Wolff 

The Gilded Chain by Dave 
Duncan (Avon, hardcover, 352 
pp, $23) 

Durandel is one of the King's 
Blades: specially trained to be 
one of the finest swordsmen in 
the world. As such, he expected 
to be bound to the service of a 
great Lord, or even the King him- 
self. Much to his surprise, 
though, he finds himself bound 
to the foppish and ineffectual 
Marquis of Nutting. Durandel's 
assignment, however, proves to 
be anything but boring as cir- 
cumstances take him to a distant 
and mysterious city, and place 
him among people for whom sur- 
vival is more a matter of wits 
than proficiency with a blade. 

Dave Duncan manages some 
style, placing The Gilded Chain a 
cut above the most of the groan- 
ing weight of fantasy literature. 
His one flaw lies in an intimate 
romance with medieval terminol- 
ogy that might stymie the lay 
reader, but his concept of the 
King's Blades is a well-executed 
one, and Sir Durandel is the sort 
of character that can take a well- 
done concept and run with it. 

—Michael Wolff 

Dragon by Steven Brust (Tor, 
hardcover, 288 pp, $22.95) 

Here Steven Brust adds 
another chapter to his series of 
fantasies featuring the adven- 
tures of assassin Vlad Taltos, 
dutifully accompanied by his 
reptilian familiar Loiosh. This 
particular episode details Vlad's 
exploits during a war between 
rival Dragonlords. Vlad pre- 
sumes that his assassination 
skills will make him proficient in 
the art of combat. He's sadly 
mistaken. His situation differs 
from that of the usual foot-sol- 
dier in that he finds himself con- 
sorting with Dragonlords, facing 
lethal mystical weapons and 
wading up to his jerkin in the sort 

iEMlM KEUlf 

Suim SumI mtc« |«M be Ano*o' bes» la«**y *rtier- 
— Tad WCUan* 

of quasi-medieval politics that 
usually produce an extensive 
body count. 

Dragon is as perfect an exam- 
ple of post-J.R.R. Tolkien mod- 
ern fantasy as one could expect. 
Which is to say: There's nothing 
that distinguishes it from the 
dozens of other fantasies current- 
ly on the shelves. Brust enjoys a 
following due to the evident care 
he exhibits in putting words 
together, but he's really offering 
nothing new. Dragon is simply 
one drop among many in the vast 

16 STARLOG/Mflrc/; 1999 

ocean it inhabits. leaner adventure story. Poul 

— Michael Wolff Anderson did a far better job 
with his Flandry books, and he 
also knew when to wrap up a 
series and move on. Honor Har- 
rington is an interesting charac- 
ter — and Weber a competent 
writer — but the reader might be 
forgiven for wondering just how 
much longer this series need con- 

—Michael Wolff 

Eyes of Silver by Michael A. 
Stackpole (Bantam, paper- 
back, 464 pp, $5.99) 

Events are coming to a head 
across an Earthlike world where 
magic exists. Various nations are 
flexing their might, jockeying for 

A Clash of Kings: Book Two of 
a Song of Fire and Ice by 
George R. R. Martin (Bantam 
Spectra, hardcover, 896 pp, 

A blood-red comet crosses 
the sky, and though it only seems 
to portent strife, every would-be 
king sees it as a sign of his ascen- 

George R. R. Martin has 
spared no effort in detailing A 
Clash of Kings' fantasy king- 
doms — multiple readings are 
needed, in fact, to truly absorb 
and appreciate it. But a glut of 
detail ultimately hamstrings this 
meticulously crafted tale. The = 
plethora of information and char- c ' 
acters — with the exception of the j 
dwarf Tyrion, who manages to j 
transcend his companions and' 
stand out — overwhelm the reader • 
and detach him or her emotional- 
ly from the work. 

— Penny Kenny- 
Echoes of Honor by David 
Weber (Baen, hardcover, 592 
pp, $24) 

When Honor Harrington was 
last seen (In Enemy Hands), she 
had been captured by the People's 
Republic and sentenced to hang. 
Echoes of Honor opens with the 
sentence being carried out. 

But, since 592 pages of a 
body slowly twisting at the end 
of a rope would stretch the 
patience of even the most stal- 
wart fan, it's soon obvious that 
Harrington is not only alive, but 
plotting her escape from the 
forces of the Republic, as well as 
her return to the Star Kingdom of 
Manticore. Derring-do ensues. 

David Weber has been doing 
a fair job at continuing the Honor 
Harrington franchise, but the 
page count seems excessive for 
what should have been a much 

power and influence. From 
throne rooms to desert battle- 
fields, plans are being made, 
alliances are being formed, and 
the future of all life depends on a 
blind warrior-priest in the service 
of a being who could possibly be 
the enemy of mankind. 

Michael A. Stackpole has 
always been a better writer of SF 
than of fantasy. Not that Eyes of 
Silver isn't worth opening, but 
following it takes a bit of work. 
There is a great deal of wading 
through the intricately described 
historical details of Stackpole's 
world before one finally arrives 
at the meat of the story. Stack- 
pole is obviously in love with the 
historical fiction format, and 
credit must be given to the 
degree of effort he has put into 
his work. But writers such as 
Susan Kay, Katherine Kurtz and 
Mary Stewart have been where 
he has gone, and have accom- 
plished much smoother and more 
readable results. Stackpole is an 
accomplished writer, but there is 
such a thing as putting too much 
icing on the cake. 

—Michael Wolff 

final frontiers Star Wars, Blade Runner, Star Trjpk * 
Alien, -Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, and more! 
the* dark side Outer Limifs, Twilight Zone, 
Halloween, X-Files, The Prisoner, MST3K, and more! 
the uninvited E.T., Alien Nation, Close Encounters. 
Jurassic Park, Independence Day, War of the Worlds* 
and more] defenders of justice Batman,*- 
Superman* Spider-Man, Speed Racer, the Terminator, 
Robo Cop, and more! 



? 23 E. 4th St. New York, NY 10003 

5 1999 TVT Records 


This lists E-mail addresses 
and web page silcs for SF, 
fantasy & animation creators 
and their creations. Web site 
operators may add their sites to 
this list by sending relevant 
info via E-mail only to com- 


Aliens use our own tech- 
nology against us. Look out 
Tor a gritty Jamie Lee (amis. 


From cyberspace to wetware. 
all data on this SF subgenre is 


Provides for all your dragon 
lovin' needs! 
a5 1 /Lair/2487/ 


Official site from Paramount. 




Lor info on the Phantom 
Menace and other Star Wars 
swf ull force/pre . htm 


A great site with links to 
Anime resources. 
http://www.engin.umd. umich. 


Sharpen your trivia skills with 
three (fairly) accurate Trek 


It's a wonder, with info on it- 
star, Lynda Carter. 


Want to know the history of 
your favorite SF shows? Then 
look here. 



Please note: Inclusion here does not indicate en- 
dorsement of any club or publication by STAR- 
LOG. And STARLOG is not responsible for 
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Please write to SF Directory. STARLOG. 475 
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-TH6 LAST w& rue FALCOtt STo??EO OV^ 
THE awatT OF THE M*£S 

FINALLY! Boba Fett unmasked! 



New fan club for Pet Fly's The 


Address: Tribe Cascade 
POBox 112 

Huntsville, TX 77342-0112 
Dues: $20 US 
Membership Includes: Auto- 
graphed photo, membership 
card, membership pin, premiere 
newsletter issue, three quarterly 
newsletter editions. 

Fanzine devoted to fan fiction 
based on Babylon 5, Xena, Red 
Dwarf, Star Trek, Total Recall, 
Spawn, Space: Above and 
Beyond, Sliders & others. 
Sanctioning: U.S.S. Solar 

Address: Jerry Seward 
3421 Fulton Street 
Saginaw, MI 48601-31 17 

Rates: S6.50 for one issue or 
S60 for yearly subscription. 


Questions about cons listed? Please 
send a self-addressed, stamped 
envelope to the address listed for 
the eon. Do NOT call STARLOG. 
Note: Con guests listed may not 
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must provide a phone number and 
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ensure a listing in STARLOG — not 
here, but elsewhere — contact Tim 
Clark (212-689-2830 x215) for 
classified ad rates & advertise 


February 27-28 
New Yorker Hotel 
New York, NY 
Creation Entertainment 
The Galleria Tower 
100 West Broadway 
Penthouse Suite 1200 
Gelndale. CA 91210 
Guest: Alexandra Tydings 


February 27-March 1 
Ingleside Resort 
Staunton, VA 


P.O. Box 416 

Verona. VA 24482-0416 

(540) 886-2154 




March 5-7 

Sheraton Baltimore North 
Baltimore, MD 

Vulkon Conventions 

c/o Joe Motes 

P.O. Box 821673 

South Florida, FL 33082-1673 

(954) 434-6060 

Guests: Marina Sirtis, Dirk Bene- 
dict, Mary Kay Adams 


March 5-7 

Orlando Expo Centre 
Orlando, FL 

Quantum Cat Entertainment 
(407) 599-0905 
Guests: Terry Brooks, J. Michael 
Straczynski, Boris Vallejo, Julie 
Bell, Alex Ross 


March 7 
Hyatt O'Hare 
Chicago, IL 

See earlier address 


March 7 
Radisson Hotel 
Sacramento, CA 

See earlier address 


March 19-21 
Holiday Inn Decatur 
Atlanta, GA 

See earlier address 
Guest: Tim Russ 


March 26-28 

Sheraton Four Points Hotel 
Memphis, TN 

MidSouth Science and Fiction 
Conventions. Inc 
P.O. Box 11446 
Memphis, TN 38111 
(901) 274-7355 

Guests: James P. Hogan, Joy 
Marie Ledet. Culien Johnson 



April 1-4 

SeaTac Doubletree Hotel 
Seattle, WA 

Norwescon 22 

P.O. Box 68547 

Seattle, WA 98 1 68-0547 

(206) 270-7850 


Guests: Harry Turtledove, Jack 
Homer. Jack L. Chalker 

l-CON 18 

April 9-11 

SUNY, Stony Brook 

Stony Brook, Long Island, NY 


P.O. Box 550 

Stony Brook. NY 11790-0550 
Guests: Harlan Ellison, Lois 
McMaster Bujold 


April 16-18 
Holiday Jnn-DLA 
Denver, CO 


P.O. Box 24955 

Denver, CO 80224 

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18 STARLOG/Ator/i 1999 





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"Autolycus is the King o' Thieves. 
opposed to the 'prince of thieves.' Make no 
mistake, he is the King." 

But it's a longtime relationship that 
helped put him on the road to Athens. 
"Back in 1995. Rob Tapert [Hercules pro- 
ducer and old friend of Campbell's] gave 
me a call because Doug Lefler had written 
a script called The King of Thieves' for 
Hercules. Rob, in his infinite wisdom, said, 
'This is perfect for you." I read it and went, 
'You're right.' So then it started, sort of 
loosey-goosey; whenever I was available 

and whenever they needed an episode. I 
would go down [to New Zealand for shoot- 
ing]. I'm a pinch hitter. Between '95 and 
'97, 1 did some Hem here, some there, and 
went over to Xena and did some of them. 
At the end of '97, I made a deal to do a 
bunch more, so in '98, I did 1 1 episodes, 
plus some directing." 

Campbell was on the set of Hercules 
even before appearing on screen, directing 
the first season's "The Vanishing Dead." 
"Good trivia!" he exclaims. "I went down 
in '94 as a director for a few episodes. I've 

been partners with Rob and Sam Raimi 
since the Evil Dead films, and on those we 
all did a little of everything. I followed the 
post-production process all the way 
through because I was interested in it. The 
whole concept of directing was not terribly 
new. When it comes to TV, there's only so 
many ways you can skin a cat anyway, 
since you're working within the constraints 
of essentially a 1 2-hour day for what you 
can get. 

"So I lobbied for [the directing gig]. I 
called Rob and said. 'How had can it be? 

Likable bad guy 
Autolycus (Campbell) 
emerges as one of 
'Three Idiots & a 
Baby" in "The Key 
to the Kingdom" 
(a Xena the 
actor also 

Footloose & fancy free, Xena (Lucy Lawless) 
& Auto dance to "A Tale of two Muses." 

It's not going to suck any worse than any other 
show on TV.' I have what I consider a decent 
work ethic and I said, 'Look, I'll work my ass 
off. I want to make it good. I'll work however 
your show is done.' I didn't piss him off and 
I've done seven of them, between the two 
shows. I've also been in about half of them, 
which gives you a very active day, but it can be 
done if you prep. That's the wide snapshot of 
my Autolycus world." 

Auto Parts 

Favorites for cast members run the gamut 
from the serious to the sublime. Campbell, of 
course, has twice the choices thanks to his 
double duty. "I like Xena's 'King of Assas- 
sins,' the first episode I was in and also direct- 
ed. I was working with Ted Raimi, whom I've I 
known since he was nine. It was a really cool 
experience. Ted has a thousand different ideas. 
And it was a Lucy Lawless-light episode, a 
chance to screw around." 

Knowing the younger Raimi brother since 
childhood has allowed for a certain level of 
jovial cruelty. Raimi recalled that Campbell 
and the older Raimi brothers used to beat him 
up (STARLOG #198). Campbell laughs at this 
memory, explaining that he doesn't go that far 
getting even with Ted. "I would torment him 
like his brother used to torment me on the set- 
Sam, as a director, is like Otto Preminger. onlj 
a good Otto Preminger. Preminger was alwaj • 
shouting; Sam puts on a show for the crew. 
Because we've known each other for so long 
he would go, 'Well, Bruce didn't get that line 
right, did he? I guess we'll have to go again!" 
Sam put me through 12 years of abuse with thd 
Evil Dead movies. This is a chance to tormeJ 
his brother, and Sam vicariously. 

"It was a very involved episode for Tec." 
Campbell continues, "because he had to pla> 
two roles — Joxer and his evil twin Jett. We 
didn't have to beat things to death; we would 
talk about how to play a scene and I wouldn': 
have to show him. I worked with Ted again on 
'Key to the Kingdom,' where Lucy plays two 
characters, Xena and Meg. Ted's good oil 
Joxer and I'm Auto, and we go on a romp. It 
'Three Idiots and a Baby.' It's funny to dej 
with someone as a director instead of an actcc. 
Lucy was in all of it and I've never directed 
episode where she was in it all the 
through. Normally, it would be 'Hi, Luc 
could you do this and this?' and then she wool 
be gone." 

Campbell describes his first time directing 
Lawless for a complete episode: "Lucy is mess 
instinctive. She doesn't like specific inform* 
tion, like if you're doing a gag, she does^ 
want it explained it to her. Just tell her wha: 
do and she'll do it in her own way. You've ; 
to feel out her interpreting. As an actor. I a 
along very easily with her, she's very profe 
sional. As a director, now you're dealing wi 
the show's lead and you have to make sa 
you're prepared because this is their show. 

"I directed another episode I enjoyec- 
'For Those of You Just Joining Us,' the seqi 
to 'Yes, Virginia, There Is a Hercules." T5 

Often undercover to make his schemes Caricaturing producer pal RobTapert as "the biggest idiot on the planet," Campbell 
work, aquanaut Autolycus disguises deftly directed "For Those of You Just Joining Us." 

himself as a Christmas ornament. Or not. 

County Photo; Craig Mathew/Copyright 1993 Warner Bros. TV 

Campbell's willing to 
saddle up Comet if 
ever Brisco County, 
Jr. Rides Again. 

story has the writing staff having problems 
and they go away on a corporate retreat to 
reinvent the show. And goofiness ensues. I 
think what's fun is that the audience sees all 
the actors they know playing other roles: 
Renee O'Connor, Hudson Leick, Kevin 
Smith, Michael Hurst. It's great to see 
Kevin, an amazingly talented guy, in a com- 
pletely different role. He's playing a south- 
ern hick, and he's really good at it. I directed 
him in his first episode, as Iphicles, Her- 
cules' half-brother ["What's in a Name?"], 
before he became the main stud boy. I 
remember telling Rob, 'This guy you have 
: : keep around.' 

"Experiences like 'Just Joining Us' are 
always good. Kevin Smith doesn't have to 
rat on the stupid 20 pound pair of pants, and 
Michael can just be this outrageously drunk 

character. Hudson, she's pretty intense, even 
as a person, she's fun to deal with, she has a 
lot of kooky ideas. And all the actors are 
really happy to be there because they're not 
playing the same characters. It's not the 
same old, same old of 'I've got to stop this 

"And we can make fun of the show, the 
writers and producers. I make Rob Tapert 
look like the biggest idiot on the planet. 
Well, he commissioned the second episode, 
so he couldn't have been too annoyed by 
'Yes, Virginia.' My job was singly to make 
him the biggest idiot on the staff even 
though he's the boss. But the writers did it. 
Bob and Alex [Orci and Kurtzman], the two 
show runners for Hercules, wrote that 
episode. I hardly changed anything; these 
guys were right on." 

Auto Graphs 

Autolycus (pronounced "Aw tol i cus." 
"Originally, I thought it was 'auto li cus,' " 
notes Campbell, "but that was early on") 
was initially a one-shot character. "As any 
show grows over five years," Campbell 
explains, "you can't just have Hercules and 
Iolaus. And you can't just have good guys. I 
thought it was a smart idea to pair Hercules 
with a bad guy — Auto's not that much of a 
bad guy, he's the likable bad guy. Here finds 
other bad guys through me and uses me, 
meanwhile teaching me a lesson. Here is 
like Shane — you gotta leave little Billy with 
the moral lesson. So whenever I was on, it 
was the whole 'Crime doesn't pay' thing. 
And I wind up going. Aw, shucks, all right, 
I'll give the reward back.' The producers saw 
that — aside from the fact that I aot alons real 

STARLOG/Mr/rr/i 1999 21 


well with Kevin Sorbo and Michael. That's 
good too, that you have a good working 

Although it all looks like fun, it is a job. 
"The shows are work, make no mistake," 
Campbell emphasizes. "I liken it to being a 
coal miner, as a director and as an actor. You 
get up at 5 a.m., you're in makeup at 6 a.m. 
for an hour. The crew shows up, and you're 
doing your first shot by 7:45 and blasting all 
the way through till 7 p.m. Then, you go 
home, learn lines, watch CNN and go to bed. 

"You're not a party animal while you're 
doing these. It's work. One of the restric- 
tions that makes it really tough is the 12- 
hour day, which seems like a lot of time, but 
they don't do that in the States. Here, you 
have 12- and 16-hour days, but in New 
Zealand, they pull the plug. That means by 7 
p.m. you have to get your stuff done, and so 
they have very frantic periods where it's, 
'Come on guys, we've got to go,' or, 'I've 
got to print that take even though it wasn't 
perfect.' So we have as much fun as we can 
with a gun to our heads." 

As an actor and director, Campbell is 
enthusiastic about one particular aspect of 
the series. "It's the most creative atmosphere 
I've ever been in on any TV show. We have 
that ability— because there's no studio. It's 
syndicated, so there's no network to give 
them notes on every script, to bug actors 
about certain things or to have some edict 
come down to 'Never do this again!' When 
we've needed to fix something or change 
something or improvise, we just did. That's 
unprecedented! I've been on TV shows in 
the States where you have to make a phone 
call if you want to change an 'if,' 'but' or a 
'well,' and that's horrible— that's prison. 

"That's part of the reason why everyone 
gets along so well," he continues, "because 
they don't feel stifled. Sometimes actors 
get crabby when they realize they've 
been trapped like rats. And here 
each actor has played at least five 
different roles. Kevin Sorbo has 
been his mean, opposite self, the 
Sovereign. Michael has played a 
dozen different roles. I got to 
dress up as a woman ["Men in 
Pink"]. And even during an 

As Autolycus, Campbell rules as the 
self-styled "King of Thieves." Still, he 
keeps doing semi-heroic things, like 
monster babysitting in "Beanstalks & 
Bad Eggs." 

episode, they have you imitate a shipping 
clerk or disguised as a hunchback. That's 
really where you feel like you're acting 
again, where you feel like you're a kid. As 
opposed to something like, with all due 
respect, ER, where you're wearing the same 
damn smock every week and you're doing 
bypasses and it's, 'Which disease is it this 
week?' I like the make-believe deal much 

Auto Rewind 

For Campbell, making Autolycus more 
than just a comedic foil "is an attitude thing. 
Characters have their primary function. 
Mine, as Autolycus, is comic relief, and that 
is my directive. Yet you want to give the 
character enough basis in reality that people 
can relate to him. You want people to accept 
why he is. In my case, half my family was 
killed, blah, blah, blah, robbed by a rich 
merchant — it's a very Robin Hood thing — 
and Auto became the greatest thief of all so 
that it would never happen again. As a result, 
that's all he knows, so it's not that he's a bad 
<niy. He grew up within a confused world. 
You want to infuse enough drama into it so 
audiences have a stake in the character, that 
they care. I don't think the writers need to 
beat it to death. 

"Characters are likable when they're 
pompous but allowed to look like an idiot. 
Autolycus is a braggart, but he's humiliated 
constantly. You need that — 
JHtf^ it's what makes a charac- 
ter appealing. The 
B^B audience tends to claim 
|Kp|i characters. They get 
* comfortable with them, 
like putting on an old 
pair of slippers. It's a lit- 
tle mysterious why 
people glom onto 
some char- 

acters and not others. It's whether you fit in ] 
with the show." 

Campbell will remain in the spotlight 
this year. In The X-Files' "Terms of Endear- 
ment" episode, "I play a demon with a heart 
of gold." And how does one play such a 
character? "Very carefully. That was a full- 
on drama. X-Files is dark, moody and 
brooding. It was nice to be on X-Files 
because The Adventures of Brisco County. 
Jr. used to precede X-Files. So, it was fun to 
see a show five years later, to see how every- 
one is holding up. 

"I've done a French film, La Patinne 
Noir, that's doing the festival route. And 
there's the From Dusk Till Dawn sequel. 
Texas Blood Money, I have a teaser role in 
that. I also have a cool independent film 
which we're selling over the Internet now, 
directly to customers. Running Time is a I 
crime drama, black and white, film noir. It's 
very much, stylistically, like Alfred Hitch- 
cock's Rope. It's all in one shot. Only, I 
think we did it right. In that I mean, Hitch- 
cock was all on a stage, all very controlled: 
we go in and out of vans, down streets, into 
apartments, we change a tire in real time, 
there's a real time sex scene, and it's all done 
in one shot. I did it with Josh Becker, who 
directed a lot of Xenas. I've known Josh for 
100 years from back in Michigan, and he 
came up with this idea." 

Want to know more? Campbell is pre- 
pared. "Every single shred of information 
about me is at my web site, www.Bruce-," he announces. "If it's not 
mentioned on the page, it's not real. I have 
rumor control, upcoming projects, airdates. 
filmography, photo galleries, anything you 
want to see." 

For many fans, that would be The Adven- 
tures of Brisco County, Jr. (which Campbe'L 
discussed— along with Mindwarp, a movie 
produced by STARLOG's sister firm Fango- 
ria Films— in issue #197). A Western adven- 
ture fantasy, Brisco lasted only one short 
season on Fox. "That thing has never 
stopped airing, though, 26 episodes over and 
over again," Campbell marvels. "I would 
love to play Brisco again, but these kinds of 
questions are really frustrating to answer 
because Warner Bros, doesn't give a rat's ass 
about that show. If anything, it would be 


Look into his eyes. You will visit to learn more. 

TNT that would do something. They've 
been more loyal to it than Fox or Warners. I 
would put that costume on in a second. I 
would actually love to do a series of TV 
movies. I wouldn't try and revive it as a 
series — that's unrealistic. Old TV series age 
like fish in Hollywood, but there's no reason 
why it couldn't come back as Brisco Rides 

'Talking about Brisco is as frustrating as 
questions about Evil Dead 4. The same thing 
applies. People sometimes misinterpret that 
I don't like these movies. That's bullshit. 
They've set standards; they've created a 
very strong cult following," Campbell 
enthuses. "But when I say Army of Darkness 
didn't make much money, that's true. What 
people need to realize is that Hollywood is a 
bottom-line place. They don't care how 
many fans want to see Evil Dead 4. If it did 
not make money, they're not going to 
finance another one. And if it gets made, it 
gets made. We would all do it. They are real- 
-} hard movies to make. Army of Darkness 
almost killed me, and that's in a physical, 
grueling way. To be honest, it's not some- 
thing I wake up saying, 'Oh yeah, let's do it! 
Yippee, another one!' " 

Auto Pilot 

Campbell has managed to hit a wide 
range of parts in his career, appearing in 
Westerns, horror, science fiction, fantasy, 
superheroics, crime drama, Disney TV, 
black comedy, horror Westerns and drag. 
What's left? "More of the same," he simply 
says, "and a little more drama. I did a totally 
straight two-part Homicide a while back. 
And this X-Files is totally serious. I'm cry- 
ing for half the episode. 

"It interests me on an acting level, to 
keep things sort of a mixed bag, like job 
rotation. In 1999, I'm going to make an 
independent film that I'll write and direct. 

I'm going to pretty much self-finance it. 
That's a drama." 

And not the oft-mentioned Man with the 
Screaming Brain, which was once even fully 
financed. At that time, however, Campbell 
was contractually tied to Brisco County, Jr., 
and couldn't do the film. The actor considers 
it dead and buried. 

"I would like to do more drama and less 
TV," he admits. "I came from independent 
film and that's where I want to go back. I 
want to be the salmon swimming back 
upstream to spawn. I want to go back to 
where I came from. 

"TV was great. I did five years of that — 
two-hour formats, TV movies, sitcoms, 
episodic — and I got it. I also see the creative 
glass ceiling. As I age, creativity becomes 
more important. Television, as good as it is 
and as good as it has been — it instills a good 
work ethic, you have to have it together — is 
limiting. The format is confining. The 
restraints of production are frustrating. As a 
director, I'm glad to have been in that and 
survived it. I would now like to take that 
same application and move it to features. 

'There will be a point where television 
becomes a black hole, and it can suck you in 
and never spit you out. You get used to the 
lifestyle; it pays good money. Some people 
never leave, and good for them. I've found 
the point where it diminishes me." 

And though he's ready to accompany 
Xena and Hercules for further legendary 
journeys, he sees the final destination ahead. 

"Those shows are near the end of the 
road, say what you want," Campbell 
observes. "The actors are only going to last 
so much longer. After a few years, you start 
to beat up on your lead actors. And there are 
only so many more stories you can tell. The 
Babylon 5 plan was great — it was designed 
for five years and, bye, it's over. That's bril- 
liant. The USA Network only needs so 

M W 

many episodes of Xena and Hercules. 
They'll have their own swan song eventual- 
ly. So I figure I might as well do it now. I'm 
going back to my original, very casual deal 
with them. If they have an episode for me 
and I'm available, I'll do it. 

"The other thing I like is that for this 
film, Ice Breaker, I'm going to shave my 
head. I couldn't do that if I was going to play 
Autolycus three weeks from now, which is 
what most of 1998 was. I kept that mustache 
for the better part of the year. 

"I'm looking for the ability to do what- 
ever I want to do," Campbell says, noting 
that options are what he's searching for and 
finding. "I started with a huge lifestyle 
change. I live in the Pacific Northwest now, 
and I'll never go back. I was in LA for 10 
years. I'm from Michigan and I like trees. I 
would have never moved to LA if it wasn't 
for the film business. Because of shows like 
Hercules and Xena, they've expanded pro- 
duction all around the world. I've worked in 
France, Costa Rica, Mexico and Vancouver. 
So I had to ask myself the question of why 
am I in LA? 

"It's payback time! It's like putting quar- 
ters in the slot and you get dimes back. Now 
I want my quarters back and more than I put 
in, because I put in those quarters a long 
time ago. I'm going to force the payoff to 
happen because of this self-financed thing. I 
was laughing the other day with my wife, 
saying that I was going to create a Holly- 
wood Tax: 'I'm going to tax Hollywood, 
every job I do as an actor, I'm going to take 
a portion of that, like tithing, and put it into 
my movie money and so it will be like a 
Hollywood-financed movie, only no one 
will know it.' Hollywood would finance the 
movie I'm in as an actor, but probably 
wouldn 't finance the movie I would want to 
do. Only now they will" Bruce Campbell 
laughs. "I'll make them pay." 

STARLOG/Ator/i 1999 

Is it science 
fiction? Is it a 
war movie? Is it a 
CD-ROM game? Actually, 
Wing Commander is all 
mree — a big-screen futuristic war 
film based on the bestselling 
series of computer games created 
by Chris Roberts. And fans of 
Wing Commander will be happy 

to know that the 
game is being 
brought to life for 
moviegoers by a director who 
thoroughly understands the 
source material — Roberts him- 
self. The game designer-turned- 
film director promises that Wing 
Commander will evoke classic 
war movies. 

24 STARLOG/7W(//</; 1999 

Those space war games 
shift from computer to the 

big screen. By KIM HOWARD JOHNSON 

"I wanted to have something that felt like Das 
Boot in space," says Roberts. "There were some 
scenes I wanted in the movie that were the equiva- 
lent of Das Boot's depth-charging scene. I was try- 
ing very much to make a classic World War II 
movie, but update it and set it in space, so things that 
you see will register with you on a subconscious 
level, but instead of destroyers at sea or a submarine 
stuck at the bottom of the ocean, it's all in space." 

Many CD-ROM games cannot be effectively adapt- 
ed to the big screen, but producer Todd Moyer says the 
cinematic elements of the Wing Commander game have 
made the transition much easier. The most formidable 
task they faced was in constructing a story out of the 
many hours of material in the game. "Our biggest chal- 
lenge was trying to make the game into a cohesive, sat- 
isfying story that will work in two hours," says Moyer. 
"We don't have 20 hours to tell the story." 

Under Wing 

Wing Commander focuses on Christopher Blair 
(Freddie Prinze Jr.). a pilot fresh out of the Academy 
who harbors a dark secret. Carrying an encoded 
message about a Kilrathi invasion, Blair, with his 
comrades Maniac (Matt Lillard), Deveraux (Saffron 
Burrows) and his commander, Paladin (Tcheky 
Karyo), join together as the Confederation forces 
mobilize to defeat the alien forces. 

Kevin Droney and Mike Finch wrote the screen- 
play, based on Roberts' instructions. "I had a rough 
outline of the kind of story I wanted to tell," says 
Roberts, "the feeling of the movie and the characters. 
I wanted to go back and tell the story of Blair and 
Maniac and their first tour of duty — which is more or 
less what happens in the first game, but the story's dif- 
ferent and it's obviously more cinematically set." 

Besides raising the Wing Commander bar, there 

were many new story elements that needed to be 
worked into the script, particularly in such a futuris- 
tic film. "One of the biggest problems with science 
fiction, especially where we jump from one area of 
space to another, is that there are many big concepts 
to get your mind around, and it's difficult to get that 
across," says Roberts. "We spent a fair amount of 
time trying to figure that out, while also retaining the 
human element. We have this group of young pilots, 
and I really wanted to feel the effect of the war on 
them and how they respond to it." 

Roberts asserts that credit aside, his was a strong 
voice in screenplay development. "Like any movie 
nowadays, there's much more that goes into a story 
than just the accredited screenwriters' work. We had 
a couple of guys, for example, who came on and did 
the dialogue polish. I was heavily involved with the 
writing process at one point. When I sat down to 
rehearse with the actors, we would go in and work 
through scenes, and stuff that didn't seem right or 
natural to them, we would change it around or work 
it so they felt really comfortable with what their 
characters were saying." 

Wing Commander's characters have arguably 
made the game a success — something Roberts clear- 
ly wants to carry over into the film. "When Wing 
Commander first came out, I knew it was going to 
work when I went online and saw people talking 
about all the different Wingmen they were flying 
with," says Roberts. "They would say, 'Oh, Maniac is 
such a dick, I hate him," talking about them like regu- 
lar people, rather than, 'Oh, you want to take this 
character because he's much better in this kind of 
mission.' They were talking about their personalities. 
I realized this connects with people, so in Wing Com- 
mander II, we took the storytelling aspect to another 
level and started playing with people's emotional 

STARLOG/Ma/r/i 1999 25 


wanted to 

have something tha 

Creator Chris Roberts, who 
dubbed Wing Commander 
"Das Boot in space," strove to 
impress a WW II feel onto his 
space battles. 

responses. That improved from game to game, and 
also translated well across the big screen." 

Although the later Wing Commander games fea- 
ture live-action footage, none of it was incorporated 
into the feature. In fact, with the exception of the sto- 
ryline, the moviemakers completely ignored the CD- 
ROM games. "There are story elements of the game in 
the film," says Moyer, "and of course there are also 
Kilrathi, the aliens loosely based on a large cat, but 
from a design standpoint, everything is fresh," says the 
producer. "We didn't take any shots [from the CD- 
ROMs]. Because we're making a movie, we have a 
much greater amount of time and can pay much more 
attention to detail. Of course, the visual effects have to 
be of much higher resolution. It's a whole different 
level of quality and attention to detail." 

Moyer adds that there are some terrific advan- 
tages in having Roberts, creator of the Wing Com- 
mander games, direct the film, but notes the 
importance of remembering the tremendous differ- 
ences in the two media. "It's an advantage to have 
the same creative force behind the movie, and so 
we're trying to bring it up to a higher level. It's not 
that the video games aren't great, but it's the differ- 
ence between having just 54 days to shoot a two- 
hour film, as opposed to 35 days to shoot 20 hours' 
worth of live-action footage." 

Winging It 

Principal photography took place in Luxem- 
bourg, where the unit constructed the flight deck and 
bridge of the Confederation carrier Tiger Claw, the 
bridge of the merchantman Diligent and the bridge 
and corridors of the alien Kilrathi capital ship. Lux- 
embourg was an ideal shooting locale, as it offered 
few disadvantages to shooting— and significant 
financial plusses. "Luxembourg worked out fairly 
well. The only slightly challenging thing is that they 
don't have the same sort of infrastructure that Lon- 
don or LA has," says Roberts. "Many of our crew 
were from London. If we had to get equipment, we 
would bring it in from Germany or London. But we 
were shooting there because of tax reasons, and it 
helped with our production values." 

Roberts' own company, Digital Anvil, is heavily 

involved with the Wing Commander FX. "Digital 
Anvil is doing all of the 3-D work, and this movie is 
entirely digital, which means that we don't have any 
practical models of spaceships or anything," says 
Roberts. "What we did in the case of the Rapiers, the 
fiahters the good guys fly, was build six full-size 
ones that we shot with over in Europe. We brought a 
digital artist out and he measured them and took 
photos and textured it, so it's basically a digital ver- 
sion of the real ones we had. We built physical mod- 
els of all of the ships, and then we modeled them 
into digital form and used photographic reference 
for our textures. I.think the digital models look quite 
close to the real ones. 

"We really went out of our way to do everything 
digital in this movie, because there's stuff you can 
do digitally that you can't do with model photogra- 
phy in terms of moves that planes do, the number of 
elements in one shot, being right in the middle of an 
explosion or just feeling some of the action and 
dynamics. You're limited when you're using minia- 
tures, because you wear this motion control rig, and 
your camera always has physical limitations of 
where you put the lens and how close you can get to 
the model. We tried to push what was good about 
digital, which really lets you go anywhere you want, 
and so we got some dogfighting and space battles 
that you haven't seen before in a movie." 

The majority of the FX in Wing Commander 
involve CGI, as well as green- and blue-screen 
shots. "There's a tremendous amount [of such 
work] in nearly every shot. And we have 300 
shots." notes Moyer. 

One of the most innovative of these effects is the 
Time Slice sequence, which involves a series of 60 
cameras placed in a 120-arc around the subject, 
allowing the crew to take two seconds worth of 
footage moving around action that's essentially 
frozen in space. Though a similar effect has beer 
seen in TV commercials, it hasn't been successfully 
utilized yet in a theatrical feature. "When I was ir 
pre-production, you didn't see it everywhere, and ! 
haven't seen it in features yet," says Roberts. "Then 
was a bad attempt in Lost in Space, but that's ven 
different from what we're doing. 

26 STARLOG/Ma rch 1999 

oof: in space. 

"There are about three points in this movie where 
people go through jump points. In the Wing Comman- 
der Universe, you can Y go faster than light. You go 
through faults in space called jump points, and as you 
go through a fault in space, everyone freezes in time, 
and so at the time we started pre-production, it seemed 
like a really great effect. The sequence itself works 
quite well — the closer they get to the jump, everything 
is shaky and it's all going to hell in a handbasket. Then 
as soon as they breach the jump. bam\ It's like every- 
one is frozen and it's sort of serene." 

Wing Commander features a variety of space- 
ships designed for the film, including the Rapier star 
fighters launched from the Tiger Claw, and other 
human and Kilrathi vessels. "'My favorites are prob- 
ably the Rapiers, just because I love the look of 
them. There's some cool stuff, and I hope audiences 
are impressed by it as well," says Roberts. "Peter 
Lamont and his art department did a lot of design 
work on the ships, and they came up with some great 
looks influenced by World War II stuff. These ships 
aren't your standard star destroyers!" 

Roberts is fairly happy with the alien, cat-like 
Kilrathi, although given a larger budget, he might 
have realized them in another way. "There are 
always problems dealing with people in suits. If I 
had had my druthers — and a bigger budget — I prob- 
ably would have done them digitally. But I didn't, 
and I thought Animated Extras did a really good job. 
There are inherent problems with putting somebody 
in a suit when a Kilrathi is 8 feet tall, so you have to 
build them up and move them around the sets. It's 
always difficult to get a guy in a suit that tall to move 
as lively as a cat, which is where digital work comes 
in very nicely. But generally they look good. I want- 
ed the Kilrathi to look scarier and meaner than they 
did in the games, where they were a little too cute. I 
wanted design elements that were evocative of a cat, 
but also pretty nasty and vicious." 

Stretching Wings 

What about the human element of Wing Comman- 
jVr? Robeits believes Prinze was the perfect choice to 
play Blair. "We were looking for some young actors, 
and we were looking at the current crop. Obviously. 

Freddie's a good actor, but there was a nice cross of 
vulnerability, likability and a slightly cocky edge. 
Plus, he's not terribly bad-looking! He brings a nice 
empathy to the role. I think he's one of the more tal- 
ented up-and-coming actors out there. You'll be seeing 
him over the next three or four years." 

Roberts also has nothing but praise for the rest of 
his ensemble cast, a mixture of youth and experi- 
ence. "The nice thing about doing this kind of movie 
is that it's an ensemble piece, with a group of young 
actors — including Burrows and Lillard — and some 
older character actors, like Jiirgen Prochnow, David 
Suchet and David Warner — a nice, eclectic cast. 
And it was great that Fox was behind that, rather 
than telling us to cast a star here or there. In this kind 
of movie, the story and the effects seem to be the 
major stars. Sometimes if you put a major star in 
there, he can get in the way of getting totally 
immersed in that universe — like seeing Ted Danson 
in Saving Private Ryan, Danson as Sam Mai one 
from Cheers instead of as a Captain in the U.S. Air- 
borne. But it depends on the role." 

None of the CD-ROM game's cast members 
were employed in the film, in part to give the film its 
own identity, but also because most of the game's 
actors were simply too old. Roberts notes. "I felt like 
I was going to a different medium, so I wanted to 
start at the beginning," he says. "It's really like 
adapting a popular series of books. If you start with 
the third in the series, people say, T really don't 
know these characters. Where did they come from?' 
The movie goes back to the roots of Wing Comman- 
der I, where Maniac and Blair are in their early 20s 
and fresh out of the Academy. That's very different 
from Tom Wilson and Mark Hamill, who were play- 
ing characters that came later in the games, who had 
already gone through 10 years of war. Just by the 
nature of the timeline and going back to the begin- 
ning, I really couldn 't use the people that I had used 
in the games, because you're not going to buy Mark 
Hamill as a 20-year-old anymore. There was a cer- 
tain amount of sadness involved in doing that, but if 
you're reaching out to a new audience, you need to 
start at the beginning." 

The director did contact Malcolm McDowell 


The maestros at Digital Anvil 
designed all vessels via CGI. 
There weren't even "practical 
models of spaceships," notes 


"Paladin" Taggart (Tcheky 
Karyo), Blair's mentor, helms 
the weathered merchantman 

STARLOG/Ator/; 7999 27 

Turning tabl 
pyaft invades 
the Kilrathi 

tity. We're seeing a lot of space on the Hubble Tele- 
scope photos, and since we're going with the World 
War II look and the submarine motif, I wanted a col- 
orful look to the film." 

Roberts gave costumer Magali Guidasci the same 
guidance he gave his other department heads, and was 
very impressed with the results. "It's the same kind of 
stuff I did with Peter," says Roberts. "I sat her down 
and said I wanted this retro feel. They're wearing their 
flight suits, but I almost want to feel like they're step- 
ping out of their Spitfire saying, 'Tally-ho!' I like 
things that are more to do with texture and detail than 
20 different swatches of color on a uniform. She went 
off and did some great designs." 

According to Roberts, the disappointing box- 
office performance of Starship Troopers is unlikely 
to have a negative effect on Wing Commander. 
"We're not a huge, high-profile SI 00 million 
movie," says Roberts. "This movie doesn't have to 
do $200 million at the box office to be a hit. There's 
a strong audience of SF fans that go to see space 
warfarefilms, and if it's decent science fiction, then 
you're going to do quite well. And it's not like it's a 
huge risk or gamble — if Wing Commander does $50 
million at the box office, it will probably be consid- 
ered a success. Obviously, I would have liked Star- 
ship Troopers to have done more business because I 

^hwaders' ship. ^ 

"In this hind of movie, the story and the effects 
seem to be the major stars. 99 

photos above: 
Countdown to combat. 
Audiences can join the 
Wing Commander space 
wars in spring 1999. 

about reprising his game role as Admiral Tolwyn, 
but scheduling difficulties prohibited his return. 
McDowell's Time After Time co-star, David Warner, 
plays the part instead. 

"Because the Admiral was an older figure in the 
games, I felt like Malcolm could get away with it, 
but it unfortunately didn't end up working out 
because he had a commitment to do Fantasy Island," 
says Roberts. 

In the Wings 

Designer Peter (Titanic) Lamont helped add to 
Wing Commander's production values. "The one 
thing you get with somebody like Peter is: He has 
been a production designer for a long time on many 
great movies, and he has this bank of knowledge and 
ways to get things done. If you're a first or second- 
time production designer, you just haven't been 
there. You're not able to say, 'This is how we did it 
on this film.' For the money we had, he did a spec- 
tacular job. He made it look so much bigger and 
more expensive than he had a right to, especially 
having just come off Titanic, where he had a budget 
that was significantly bigger. He added a lot to 
the scale and scope of the production," 
Roberts says. 

For his cinematographer, the director 
tapped Thierry Arbogast of The Fifth Element. 
"I've been a big fan of Thierry because I loved 
Luc Besson's movies like La Femme Nikita 
and The Professional, and I wanted someone 
who was going to be bold and give me a color- 
ful look," Roberts explains. "I wanted a look in 
this movie that would make it stand apart from 
other SF movies. Star Wars was very bright and 
'70s, Star Trek is sort of clean with clean lines 
while the aliens are dark and grungy, and 
ALIENS is dark and grungy. I wanted to stay 
away from those three big science fiction fran- 
chises and give Wing Commander its own iden- 

could have said, 'Hey, people go and see science fic- 
tion no matter what!' " 

The director is excited about Wing Commander, 
but admits he is a perfectionist. "I think it's pretty 
good, but my problem is, I'm sitting here at this 
stage of the editing where I want everything to be 
perfect, and no matter what the budget is, it's not 
going to be 100 percent perfect," says Roberts. 
"There's always going to be one shot missing or 
something. Next time around, I would love to have 
more time and money because I could do a better 
job. But I think the stuff that's done at the moment is 
going to impress people." 

He wouldn't mind helming a second Wing Com- 
mander film, though he "would like to direct some- 
thing else first. But yeah, I love movies," Chris 
Roberts says, "and it's a totally new medium for me 
to play around with. Nobody in movies knows who 
I am, so that's fun— I'm a sort of scrappy little kid 
trying something, which at one point in the games 
business I used to be, but I'm not anymore. I love 
being able to put audiences in movie seats for two 
hours and take 'em to another time and place!" -fa 

Scrapped U.S. military fighter planes were cannibalizet 
to create the Confederation's impressive Rapiers. 

28 STARLOG/Ma/r/i 1999 

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Stephen Roloff acids unearthly touches to this Fi 


STAKLOG/March 1999 

Stephen Roloff 's desk, nestled deep in 
the labyrinthine offices of the studio 
devoted to Gene Roddenberry's 
Earth: Final Conflict, seems to be the 
only one not sporting a computer. "I 
use a laptop," the producer/produc- 
tion designer insists, pulling an Apple 
? : .verbook from his desk drawer. "I do a lot 
: : w ork away from the office." 

Indeed, Roloff has been busy with the 
sbow, now in its second season. The produc- 
~:-n studio downstairs has doubled in size 
■ -;e season one, and is filled with new, 
-. : .off-designed sets. 

"We have the Taelon Mothership bridge 
he reports, "the Mothership corridors, 
±<e utility room, a lab and the Mothership 
j:cking bay. It's actually partly green screen, 
-inch is always a problem for the directors 
-hen they arrive: 'What's in this direction?' 

! have a hybrid human-Taelon lab used for 
--^ts joint ventures, which is more science 
fiction-looking than most labs. Da'an's office 
remains. The Flat Planet Cafe has been great- 
• expanded. Our new character, Liam Kin- 
i-.i [Robert Leeshock], has a little loft 
irirtment [built onto the back of the cafe's 
Tills]. Doors [David Hemblen] sells the 
Resistance's underground shelter to Augur 
^ chard Chevolleau], who redecorates and 
brings down some of his paintings." 

First contract 

Roloff pauses to review the show's first 
^sison, and to comment on new directions. 
"List year," he muses, "we were basically 
arSning ourselves. We never intended to cover 
- — jely new ground. However, we can't sim- 
r • imitate Star Trek. We're trying to create 
own universe with its own races and 

Welcome to the 
Flat Planet 
Cafe, where the 
cast of Gene 
Earth: Final 
Conflict go for 
a drink, or to 
plot the 
downfall of the 

mythologies. There was no Gene Roddenberry 
'bible; so we had to find out what kinds of sto- 
ries worked for us. There were four or five 
landmark episodes that really set the tone [for 
the series]: 'Decision,' the second episode, 
where we discover that the Taelons murdered 
Boone's wife; 'The Secret of Strand HST 
[where viewers find out Taelons have been to 
ancient Earth]: 'Butterflies Are Free,' the but- 
terfly show, as we affectionately call it; and the 
last first season episode ["The Joining"], 
where we discovered that another alien, 
Ha'gel, has survived [and come to Earth]. 

"We determined what stories worked, 
where the actors' ranges played best and how 
we spent our money most effectively. It 
became very apparent where we had pasted 
on an action scene, for example, as opposed 
to where an action scene was indigenous to 
the episode. We discovered where some of 
our FX work sizzled and where it was less 
effective. Over time you iron out the glitches, 
so this year I brought in William Shatner's 
C.O.R.E. Digital for the CGI effects." 

Before even a genre series can include 
FX, one has to factor in the human, and non- 
human, element. "Any good drama," Roloff 
notes, "is dependent on the movement of a 
character you care about through a com- 
pelling and interesting story. In the first sea- 
son, we hired some fabulous actors for our 
ensemble cast. Kevin Kilner has left us, of 
course. I think we all felt that Kevin wanted 
to pursue other interests, and we wanted to 
try a different take on the main lead. 

"On the weakness side," Roloff adds, 
"when you're taking an extreme science fic- 
tion concept, dealing with global issues and 
aliens arriving on Earth, you're setting your- 
self up for hits. Occasionally, some of our 
effects, prosthetics or sets have looked hokey, 
because it's hard to do these things in a con- 
temporary Earth setting. It's easy in space. If 
the only backdrop you have is stars, you can 
do anything — a bunch of colored stuff and 
wonky shapes, and off you go. But imagine 
seeing a Klingon in a warrior outfit walking 
down a city street — it looks ridiculous, so 

STARLOG/Marc/j 1999 31 

Selected Photos: Ben Mark Holzberg 

From Resistance 
Headquarters (right), 
rebels tike Liam 
(Robert Leeshock) 
scheme to oust the 
Taelons from Earth— 
at least until Augur 
(Richard Chevolle 
moves in. 

we're always trying to pull back. That's why 
Taelon faces are not such a stretch from 
human faces, and Taelon architecture, as 
alien as it is, is based entirely on organic 
Earth forms. The walls of Taelon buildings 
are everything from coral patterns to close- 
ups of human muscle tissue. The beams in 
Da'an's office are based on human bone." 

And what about other choices? "From the 
beginning, we wanted asexual aliens. Well, 
there was a certain amount of experimenta- 
tion, like hiring women to play the Taelons. 
We weren't sure that electronically lowering 
their voices was going to work. Also, the 
Taelons use biotechnology— their buildings 
are actually grown. From a set construction 
standpoint, that meant compound curves 
everywhere. My carpenters had to throw out 
all their straight edges and learn to use metal, 
epoxies, plastic, plexiglas and fabric in all 
sorts of new ways and combinations. There 
was a huge learning curve." 

But the learning curve is leveling off, so 
what does that mean for Final Conflict today 
and tomorrow? "Invariably, every show has to 
redefine itself," observes Roloff, "or focus in 
on what its strengths are. While we're careful 
to be very respectful of the title; it is Gene 
Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict, an 
Earth-based show. This year we're using Earth 
as a hinge point from which we head out a lit- 
tle bit.Ve begin to discover what else is 
around us. The Taelon agenda of season one 
broadens, and we discover it goes deeper than 
we had suspected. There are interesting con- 
flicts brewing amongst the Taelons them- 
selves, and we begin to experience other races. 
Kincaid is half-human, half-alien. His father 
was the last of an alien race that the Taelons 
conquered. Therefore, it's poignant that Liam 
is now that last of the breed. He carries within 
him some interesting polarities." 

But conflicted loyalties do not a genre 
series make; fans want some real conflict — 

with fist or firepower. "I wouldn't say we 
were under pressure to put more action in, but 
the reality is that syndication is heavily 
action-driven, so we can't do purely cerebral 
science fiction. We have to walk a fine line to 
survive. The first half of this season is devot- 
ed to wide-ranging SF concepts. For exam- 
ple, the Taelon vessels are capable of 
multi-dimensional travel. This opens up large 
possibilities in terms of visiting other dimen- 
sions, rifts in time, possibly things that show 
up on our planet from very distant parts of 
space or time. The second half will be more 
Earth-bound, relating more to the effect of 
the Taelons on Earth and the conflicts that 
have arisen as a result. Plans for the five-year 
arc have shifted, but only slightly. 

"There was a big mystery driving the first 
season, and we have a number of stories 
focused around the interface of alien and 
human technologies and joint human-Taelon 
ventures that may or may not have an ulterior 
Taelon motive. Zo'or [Anita La Selva]— who 
clearly does not care about humanity — is 
now the head of the Taelon Synod, so he's 
Da'an's [Leni Parker] superior, and Da'an is 
sympathetic to the humans, but, as we shall 
discover, for his own reasons. So Da'an and 
Zo'or's relationship has a dynamic tension 
through a long arc that will resolve itself 
towards the second season's end. Jonathan 
Doors is declaring his candidacy for Presi- 
dent. About mid-season, we discover all 
kinds of interesting things about Sandoval 
and CVIs. Lili. now serving Sandoval, is 
forced to walk a very difficult line. Some of 
the cast, like Robert Leeshock, can't hear 
about these developments fast enough, but 
others like Leni and Von Flores just want to 
focus day-to-day on their roles." 

Taelon Tech 

Predominant among this season's FX is 
the Taelon Mothership, now orbiting Earth. 

Coruscating with light and shades of signa- 
ture Taelon purple, it is entirely computer- 
generated and reflects Roloff s design 
philosophy for the show. "The Taelons," he 
points out, "have created 'virtual glass' 
which is an energy sheath, much like a Star 
Trek force field. Basically, instead of being 
just another hunk of metal in space, the 
Mothership is a transparent structure, like a 
petroleum cracking plant seen at night — lay- 
ers and layers, and rows and rows of dense 
clutter wrapped in a membrane of energy 
which is moving in waves across the overall 
structure. It's a very complicated piece of ! 
computer animation." 

Roloff points to a TV monitor that displays 
the Mothership. "These lights are power nodes. 
It was an intentional choice not to use one 
large, central power generator the way Star 
Trek does. That's a human model from the 
industrial era that we're beginning to lean away 
from. It's far more efficient to set up many 
small power sources in localized groups or 
cells than to have to transmit power through a 
huge grid. The Taelons are a de-centralized 
race, and so is their technology. It's closer to 
living organisms — a tree doesn't have a central 
power plant, and neither do we." 

Downstairs, the large Mothership bridge 
set dominates the studio space. Approached 
through a series of jointed, purple corridors, 
it is all curved, gleaming struts and patterned 
fabric. Assistant art director Rob Ballantyne 
describes the large front wall of the bridge, 
which appears to be two layers of translucent 
fabric. "This is all lycra," he reveals. "It's 
very stretchy, so it takes the form of the steel 
frame. We have 530,000 worth of it." 

"I love being able to see through things to 
other things," Roloff discloses. "The computer- 
generated pattern is one that I found in a book 
on coral. Many of my metaphors for the 
Taelons are deep sea metaphors. The look of 
the Taelons in their energy form was inspired 

32 STARLOG/Marc/i 1999 

by a documentary I saw on bioluminescent jel- 
lyfish whose internal organs glow and pulse." 

Across the set, Ballantyne points to a star 
field, visible from Zo'or's command chair. 
"This backdrop has 4.500 sequins glued into 
it. We didn't really know how to make a 
starfield backdrop, so we looked in The Mak- 
ing of Star Trek: Voyager, and that's how they 
did it. So we tried it and it looks great." 

"These large, transparent columns," 
Roloff notes, "are modeled after shrimp legs. 
They are the Mothership's vertical elements 
and light sources. We humans put up vertical 
posts, skin our buildings with walls and 
include conduits and pipes to carry all the 
services. I thought, 'What if the vertical 
posts, like these here, were in fact the carriers 

Ergonomic detail — not. Rob Ballantyne 
claims that theTaelon shuttle's "chair is 
actually pretty uncomfortable." 

Art: Stephen Roloff 


Many organic elements were employed in 
designing theTaelon Mothership, says 
designer Stephen Roloff, including columns 
modeled after shrimp legs." 

STARLOG/March 1999 33 

of power, heat, transfers of energy?' I wanted 
to try different takes on set building traditions 
and architectural philosophies." 

"This show is all about solving problems," 
adds Ballantyne. "Stephen never comes up 
with easy ideas. It takes a whole army of us to 
figure out how to do it. We're just waiting for a 
set with a few straight lines." 

"In the center of the Mothership bridge," 
Roloff says, "are two or three layers of fabric 
with a bunch of projections in a central shaft 
which is rotating by a trick I won't describe. 
The final effect is a sort of amorphous energy 
flowing upward behind Zo'or. We in the Art 
Department affectionately call it 'the tree.' It 
looks like a strange conduit for a sort of ener- 
gy we haven't seen before." 

At the rear of the set is a row of oval win- 
dows where various Taelon operators sit — 
thanks to a low-tech idea from Roloff. "After a 
season of aliens who switch back and forth 
between their 'skin' version and their natural 
state," he explains. "I was trying to have a 
more continuous presence of the transparent, 
blue, natural-state Taelons which are comput- 
er-generated. That's very expensive. I thought 
that from a certain distance, I might trick the 
eye into seeing them, so we experimented. We 
have six extras wearing lycra suits with paint 
on them. They're sitting behind black light 
tubes and from 20 feet away, they look like 
computer-generated alien navigators." 

Discussion turns to a large, complicated 
curved structure. "It's basically an air traffic 
controller's bubble," observes Ballantyne. 
"This is painted with black light paint and we 
train black lights on it, and it looks like a blue 
neon bubble. The actor actually has to climb 
under and slide in." 

Ship Shapes 

In front of the bridge set is the Taelon 
shuttlecraft. Covered within in purple fabric, 
and lit from inside, it surrounds Lili's 
ergonomic pilot's chair which faces a com- 
pletely open front. "Lili's chair is actually 
pretty uncomfortable," notes Ballantyne. 
"We're modifying it so that she's sitting back 

Photo: Brooke Palmer 

It is the strife between characters like Da'an 
(Leni Parker) and Resistance member Dr. 
Belman (Majel Barrett Roddenberry) that 
Roloff thinks sells the show. 

more. We're looking for a different style of 
seating to say 'alien technology.' " 

Behind the bridge is a large metallic labo- 
ratory set, strung with hanging metal-mesh 
beds and ringed with elevated metal walk- 
ways. "We had human beings hanging in 
these racks," Ballantyne reveals, "and one of 
them broke and the guy fell out of it. But he 
was fine. We've had stuntmen fall from these 
railings to their 'deaths.' The ladder over 
there Ts made of lycra and steel. It looks very 
strange, especially when it's backlit." 

In the rear of the studio stands the Under- 
ground Resistance bunker. "Here we have a 
lot of rock," says Ballantyne, gesturing. "It's 
just burlap and foil. We found out one day 
that we had used a flammable glue on the 
burlap. One of our guys was doing a little 
welding touch-up and in about two seconds, 

; about half a wall was gone. But the sprinklers 
j kicked in and we were saved any real hard- 
j ship. Right now it looks like stars in the sky 
j because of all the little holes in it, but you 
j turn out the house lights, turn on the set lights 
i and you have rock. The elevator doors open 
! by human sweat, just like they did on Star 
I Trek 30 years ago. 

I "Now this set has changed because 
I Augur's taking it over. We have a whole 
j bunch of clever art fakes all over the place. 
S Here you can see a little more fakery on our 
{ part, a Radio Shack keyboard altered, with 
j blinkies [battery-powered, blinking lights] all 
! over it." On shelves is a collection of SF toys. 
"Augur had these in his old lair, but they were 
on high-up shelves, so it was hard to notice 
them. He's a kid at heart." 

Augur's lair set adjoins the human-Taelon 
lab. "This is all steel, made by our guys here," 
notes Ballantyne. "Already we have a fully 
equipped metal shop." On various work 
tables stands an array of large, liquid-filled 
glass vessels. "Everything here is designed 
by Stephen. We had $3,000 of glassware 
made. Then we filled it with Orbit soft drink, 
pieces of old Halloween masks, pieces of cut- 
up Godzilla. We have floating, colored globs 
that are inflated condoms, with strings keep- 
ing them in strange shapes, stockings 
stretched over them, all coated with resin so 
they harden. We started one day with dead 
octopi in vinegar, but it smelled terrible and 
somebody knocked one over and there was 
octopus everywhere, so we changed to plas- 
tic. Here is the tank that Boone died in last 
season. He was hanging in a stunt rig, and we 
added computer-generated bubbles. This is a 
containment vessel we use for strange crea- 
j tures. We call it the evil crockpot." 

Nearby, tucked, under the purple ramp 
i curving up one wall of Da'an's newly refur- 
j bished office, is the menacing green alien 
i "probe" of season one. It proves to be light- 
j weight, common Styrofoam, wrapped in iri- 
j descent plastic sheeting. "We hung all these 
! translucent panels on the back wall of this 
j set," notes Ballantyne. "When they're lit 
i from above, they give it a different texture 
! and more depth." 

j "Our team has managed to invent new 
! construction techniques," comments Roloff. 
j "which give us much of this sensuous, 
; translucent, organic look." 
j "The veins in the original panels are still 
j there," Ballantyne reports, "but it's a little 
\ subtler, closer to what Stephen first envi- 
j sioned. We also polished up all the floors in 
! here by putting in epoxy resin, so that the 
j camera can dolly on them. Also, we get real- 
; ly nice reflections. But they found that when 
! they dollied the camera, it squeaked, so 
j they'll put baby powder down to quiet it. The 
j actors wear little sock things on their shoes." 
! In one corner is a new desk set. "This is 
j now Liam's area," says Rob Ballantyne. 
i "He's working for Da'an, so he has his office 
\ right here. His computer set-up is Boone's 
old one, a little painted up, and we have new 
monitors that are actual working flat-screen 
monitors. Everything looks chintzy close up. 
but boy, does it look good on film." 

34 STARLOG/Marc/? 1999 




Taelon Cruisers are an elaboration on tr 
they possess a great deal more firepow 


Da'an's otherworldy office. A Stephen Roloff set design from Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict. 

TheTaelon Mothership 
was inspired, says Roloff, 
by luminous deep sea 

Although different ship 
designs are apparent this 
season, the Shuttle still 
sees air play. 




f Illustrated by 





of l^konyms 

Check out what certain terms may really mean. 


amanda (ah man' d'uoh) n. sweet, old- 
fashioned, motherly type; adhering to the 
adage that "Father knows best, unless he's 


bashir (bash shear') n. a person who has 
spent a lifetime of selfless devotion curing 
the sick and maimed, as long as it doesn't 
involve making a house call. 

behr (bear) v. to create complex fictional 
scenarios that no one really appreciates. 
("As time passed him by, Robert Ludlum 
found his own writings too much to behr!') 

berman (burr' man) v. to preach incessant- 
ly in a politically correct fashion until even 
people who started out agreeing with you 
want to stuff socks in your mouth. ("I was 

thoroughly bermanized by that sermon 

borg (borg) n. the result of blending; a mix- 
ture of human and machine. ("Our kids 
spend so much time on the Internet; it's as 
if they had borged and become part of it!") 


braga (brahh' guh) 1. strange sexual 
encounter. ("Godzilla and Mothra met for a 
braga and then trashed Tokyo."') 2. n. 
strange relationship. ("Nobody understood 
the braga between David Copperfield and 
Claudia Schiffer.") 


cardassian (kard dass' see en) adj. like 
klingon, only odorless. 

chakotay (chaa coat' tey) n. the Native 
American word for riker. 

chapel (chap' pull) n. a computer nerd, (see 

chekov (check' kovv) v. to utter a loud, 
piercing scream of pain or fright on a regu- 
lar basis. ("Fay Wray was known for her 
ability to chekov on cue"). 


crusher (krush' her) v. to possess all the 
medical knowledge in the known uni- 
verse. ..yet still be unable to find a cure for 
baldness. ("I'm sorry, Captain. I've cured 
your heart problem, but I'm crushered 
about your chrome dome.") 


data (day' tuhh) n. a mechanism which 
exhibits more human qualities than the 
humans around it. ("Robby the Robot was 
data enough to blow everyone else off the 


dax/la forge 

dax (dacks) n. 1. multiple personality dis- 
order characterized by seeing spots. 2. 
unsightly spots. 

decker (dekk' urr) n. one-level bus. 

doctor (dak' ter) n. holographic entity 
whose existence is a matter of perception 
and debate. (See also, Al Gore. Santa 

DS9 (dee' sss' nein') n. a retread; v. to 
revisit familiar territory; to go where we've 
all been before. 

dukat (doo cat') n. a bad person. Well, not 
real bad at times, maybe an OK guy. 
Wait... nope, turns out he's pretty vile at 


enterprise (en' ter pryz) n. an inanimate 
object upon which one lavishes romantic 
and/or psychosexual feelings more tradi- 
tionally reserved for human objects of 
desire. ("James stopped dating when he 
bought his 'vette, which became his enter- 


ferengi (fur wren' gee) n. semi-dramatic 
comedy relief. ("That cowardly, greedy Dr. 
Smith certainly added welcome ferengi to 
the straight-laced Lost in Spacel") 


garak (gar' rick) n. nickname for any 
males named Gary Richard. (See also, Jim- 
Bob. Joe-Bob. Bob-Bob.) 

guinan (gi' nin) v. to dispense refreshments 
and psychological advice. ("Hey, flapjack 
head.. .guinan me another beer — and keep it 


horta (hoar' tuhh) a rolling stone (minus 
the drugs, music & groupies, of course). 


insurrection (in sur wreck' shun) n. being 
put to sleep, the opposite of awakening (i.e. 


jake (jayk) a would-be author who 
believes in writing what you don 't know. 

janeway (jayne' weigh) v. to lose one's 
way by refusing to stop and ask for direc- 
tions, adj. directionless. 


kazon (kay' zawn) n. a ridiculously bad 
hairstyle. ("What do you think of the kazon 
on that guy with the shatner? It sure doesn't 
help make his head look any smaller.") 

R BRD KRZQ11 Dfla 

kes (kes) v. to come and go in the blink of 
an eye. ("I think I saw Genevieve Bujold 
kes through the studio one day last week.") 

khan (khawn) n. a genetic process for 
improving the human race, giving one 
super strength, superior mental abilities and 
uncanny overacting techniques, u to con- 
tinuously quote classic literature way past 
the point when everyone else has gotten up, 
brushed their teeth and gone to bed. 
("General Chang khaned all the way 
through dinner and into the evening.") 

kim (kim) n. an extraneous character; a 
fifth wheel. ("Harry had to watch from the 
sideline as his four friends played tennis. 
He felt like such a kim.") adj. naive, child- 
like. ("The young, green ensign felt terribly 
kim alongside his kirk companion.") 

kira (kere' rah) n. a fabulous, if impracti- 
cal, earring. 


kirk (kirk) adj. 1. manly. 2. sexually 
potent. ("That JFK really was one kirk fel- 
low.") v. to initiate romantic activity. ("JFK 
gripped Marilyn's plush hips and kirked her 
from behind.") 

| TUP1CRL KiinEon ' 1 

klingon (kling an) adj. wild; savage; 
uncouth; smelly. one who exhibits these 
characteristics. (VGeez, did you see those 
klingons who moved in next door? What 
dump did they blow in from?") 

LI , 

la forge (la forj ') n. fashionable, stylish eye 
wear. ("Where did you get the cool la 





majel (may' gell) n. consort of a legend. 

mccoy (ma koi') v. to crab, bitch, argue, 
complain, exasperate, moan, nag, annoy, 
scold, vex, bother, accuse, find fault with, 
fret, irritate.. .and heal. adj. cantankerous; 
easily exasperated. ("If you don't stop 
being so mccoy all the time, you're going to 
have a heart attack.") 


morn (more en) v. to sit endlessly on one's 
alien butt. n. one who sits endlessly on 
one's alien butt. 


mudd (mud) n. a cad, a cheat and a liar; 
someone who has a strong political career 
in front of him. 


neelix (nee' liks) n. a devotee of the culi- 
nary arts who exhibits markedly hirsute 
qualities. ("Must be a neelix in the kitchen. 
There are hairs in my plomeek soup!") 


next generation (nekst jen ur a' shin) n. a 
faint copy of a bold original. ("Better add 
some toner to that printer. It's cranking out 
next generations, again.") 

nog (knogg) adj. eager yet arrogant. ("The 
nog trekkie stewarted at Battlestar 


o'brien (oh bry' en) n. an Irish scott. 


odo (oh dough) adj. out of shape; blobbish, 
resembling Play-doh. 

okuda (oh koo duh) v. to illuminate designs 
with complex graphics, extensive informa- 
tion and in-jokes. ("Working feverishly, the 
artist okudaed The Great American 
Dictionary ofTrekonyms!') 


paris (pah wris) n. a rebel without a clue. 

picard (pick card') v. to prattle endlessly. 
("The President picarded for hours about 
his economic stimulus package.") 

pike (pyk) v. to miss the boat. 

piller (pill' err) n. the guy who hands out 
the pills. ("That odo sisko needed to find a 
piller armed with Viagra before he could 
kirk a rand.") 


Q (cue) n. one who brings infrequent, tem- 
porary relief to a particularly painful next 
generation. ("This riker party cries out for 

a en 

quark (kork) n. minute particle found 
clinging to precious metals. 


rand (rand) n. an object of rare beauty 
whose purpose or function isn't clearly 
defined; window dressing. 

riker (rye kurr) adj. 1. lifeless. 2. stiff. 
("The coroner determined that the body had 
been riker for several days.") 

roddenberry (rod and berry) n. the god 
thing, ruler of the universe, great bird, 
grand pooh-bah. 

rom (rawm) n. an engineer without a clue. 

romulan (rawm' you lan) n. what you get 
when you cross a klingon with a vulcan. 


saavik (sahh' vie) v. to price oneself right 
out of the market, leading to eventual 

sarek (sahh' wreck) v. to practice "tough 
love." n. a loving but stern father whose 
noble but excessive goals set for his child 
will end up scarring the little rugrat for life. 

scott (skat) n. one who has an uncanny 
knack for improvising solutions to impossi- 
ble problems under pressure, v. to create 
something from nothing. ("You expect me 
to scott a passable spin-off to a classic with- 
out the participation of the original princi- 

seven-of-nine (sev' en uv nein') n. extreme 
beauty; perfectly proportioned; absolute 
physical perfection, v. to stimulate the senses; 
to boggle the mind. ("Kathie Lee knew her 
marriage was a voyager, and that her husband 
was secretly seeing a seven-of-nine .") 











shatner (shat 

nurr) n. a swelling of the 

sisko (sys' coe) n. one who was once 
imposing; no longer a threat; a former 
hawk, become a dove. 

spock (spik) re. 1. a super-sophisticated 
computer with a hard drive that only works 
once every seven years. ("Nurse Chapel 
tried desperately to get her spock up and 
running.") 2. obscure Southern slang word 
meaning "hobgoblin" or "large elf." ("The 
old country doctor claimed he was troubled 
by spocks all the time") 


Stewart (stoo' 
wort) v. 1 . to gri- 
mace. 2. to 
sneer. ("I had to 
Stewart when I 
bit into this bit- 
ter persimmon") 


sulu (soo' loo)"^ 
to pierce, poke or 
prod with the 
sharp point of 
rapier or sword 
("Zorro would 
sulu his enemies 

sybok (sigh' bock) v. to insincerely 
empathize, to pretend to share the pain. 


torres (tor' rez) n. lumpy forehead, possi- 
bly as the result of a westmore, evolution or 
sharp poke in the head with a stick. 

trekkie (trek' key) n. members of a fanati- 
cal cult that worship the Roddenberry, usu- 
ally dressed in bright gold, blue or red col- 
ors. Physical characteristics include pointy 
ears or torres (i.e. lumpy forehead). May be 
hostile if provoked. Known to mass and 
mate in or around convention centers. 

trelane (tree lane) n. a fey, foppish Q. 
("Liberace had cancelled, but they still 
needed a trelane for the night's perfor- 

tribble (trib' buhl) n. a small, hairy bisexu- 
al creature. 

troi (troy) n. an excessively analytical, 
talky, celibate female of considerable sexu- 
al attractiveness. ("I wanted to take her out, 
but she told me she's a troi.") v. to take a 
particularly provocative bath. 

tuvok (two' vock) n. a pair of voks. 



uhura (ohh her' uhh) v. to communicate, 
especially through song or dance. ("He saw 
her uhura the fan dance and instantly 
understood its message.") 


voyager (voy' uhh ger) n. a lost cause. 

vulcans (vole' kans) n. a stern, stoic, some 
would say heartless group of people, much 
like the IRS. 

wesley (wez' lee) v. to repel en masse; to 
alienate a large number of people in a short 
time. ("It's odd, but being wesley doesn't 
seem to hurt Pauly Shore's career.") 

westmore (wezf moore) n. an afflictio 
affecting the forehead only, causing bump 
thereon. ("All alien life forms in the 24th 
century are known to suffer from west 



worf (wharf) n. a long platform built over 
water so that ships., a mean, surly indi- 
vidual with the disposition of Joan 
Crawford in a daycare center. ("Let's not sit 
here. That worf wkh the nasty Stewart on 
his face scares me!") v. to growl and grum- 
ble in a threatening, angry manner. ("The 
mccoy editor could worf like a sarek when 
confronted with late writers and lying pub- 



yar (yar) n. the sound an especially griz- 
zled pirate makes, v. to remove oneself 
from an undesirable situation in a prompt 
manner. ("This program is a next genera- 
tion...! think I'll \ar while I still can.") 

Jmiled Izdiiicit Irtudzlliais 


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ichael Piller is back in the Star Trek fold, at least 

for a while, and there's no stopping him when it 

comes to discussing Star Trek: Insurrection. 

"The story really is about... well, let me go back to 
the description somebody at the studio had when 
they read the script. They said, 'You know, the last 
movie was a story about Picard [Patrick Stewart] sav- 
ing the Federation from the invading Borg. This 
movie is really about Picard saving the Federation 
from itself,' " Piller recalls. "It's about an enemy 
within, about compromising principles to serve 'the 
greater good.' Mankind has done this throughout his- 
/ V * tor > ? when forced to choose between protecting a 
/ f f r small group of people who have certain rights and the 
4 j f alternative of giving the masses what they want. It's 
the story of moving the Indians off their land when 
the railroad has to come through. 

"Data [Brent Spiner] has uncovered a conspiracy to steal a 
| planet from its recently discovered inhabitants, the Ba'ku, 
„m > " ■" because it has Fountain of Youth properties. When Picard con- 

* ' fronts Starfleet Admiral Dougherty [Anthony Zerbe] and his 

allies about this, he's told that the order to take this planet comes from the highest levels 
in the Federation, that a new science could evolve from what has been found on the plan- 
et, and it's too important to worry about a few displaced inhabitants. Picard, faced with a 
very difficult moral and ethical dilemma — because the Federation's point is quite valid; 
[the Fountain of Youth properties] would help many people, but it would destroy this 
group of aliens — ultimately says that no progress is worth a race's destruction. So, he 
goes down to the planet to defend these people. He takes off his pips, resigns from the ser- 
vice and fights a battle of resistance to stop the Ba'ku from being forcibly relocated." 

Star Trek Savior 

Most Trekkers are familiar with Piller. He's the man frequently cited as the Next Gen- 
eration's messiah — the guy who, as writer/producer, helped get the show on track and set 
it on its path to acclaim and international popularity. Piller also co-created Deep Space 
Nine with Rick Berman and Voyager with Berman and Jeri Taylor. A few years ago, how- 
ever, Piller departed the Trek Universe in order to try his hand at other endeavors. He co- 
created with Bill Dial the well-received but short-lived action-adventure series Legend, 
and wrote scripts for films and other TV series that have so far gone unproduced. All of 
this time, though, Piller has remained a consultant for both current Trek series. 

And how, precisely, does Piller define consultant? "What that means is that they send 
me scripts and they send me stories. I give them notes on all of the things I read. I try to 
be as constructive as I can, giving them suggestions and alternatives, and occasionally I'D 
tell them, 'Please don't do this one.' But it all comes down to Brannon [Braga] on Voyager 

Writer Michael 
Piller (right), with 
director and co- 
star Jonathan 
Frakes, weave a 
.tale of ageless 
people and age- 
old conspiracies 
in Star Trek: 

and Ira [Steven Behr] on 
Deep Space Nine, and copy- 
ing Rick. Then I'm out of it. 
They can pay attention or 
not, depending on what I 
have to say." 

Overall Piller thinks 
both DS9 and Voyager have 
done fine without him. "DS9 
has evolved into a wonderful 
TV show. Ira and his crew 
have done a sensational job 
of finding the rhythms of the 
show," he says. T think it 
took almost four seasons, 
but the last three seasons of 
DS9 have been wonderful to 
watch, just original and full 
of sreat character work. It's 

the stock and trade of Star Trek. She 
became the one who's desperately trying to 
become a member of the crew and fit in," he 
continues. "I was unhappy when they took 
the Doctor's limitations away from him as a 

a shame that the ratings 
don't reflect the creative excellence that Ira 
has achieved. But I do believe that, in time, 
DS9 will be appreciated, perhaps as the 
original series was appreciated over time. 
"On Voyager, the evolution has begun to 

&XE&£££ "We can all identify with the 

episodes that seemed 
aimed at increasing rat- 
ings. I think that every time we do that on 
Star Trek, we falter. I felt, too often in the 

be interested in writing Star Trek IX. 
Piller said yes. The differences between 
film and TV, he felt, boiled to down to 
this: a movie screen needs to be filled, 
expectations are higher and millions 
more dollars are spent on a production. 
The similarities, he believed, were far 
more vital: "I start with the same ques- 
tions," he explains. " 'What is this movie 
going to be about? What makes it inter- 
esting to me to write it? What is the qual- 
ity of human nature that I want to explore 
here?' That's where I always start." 

Diving into the project, Piller discov- 
ered that the characters' voices came 
back to him easily. But all wasn't smooth 
trekking. Piller heard the voices of the 
Next Generation characters in their TV 
incarnations. But Picard and Data, in 
' particular, had changed consid- 
erably since the films began. "If 
you wanted to look for some 
conflict behind the scenes, you 
would find it in the discussions I 
had with both Brent and Patrick 
about, not really the voices, but 
the characterizations of both 
Data and Picard. It engendered a 
great deal of conversation. They 
both felt, at different times, that I 
was taking their characters back 
a step from who they had been in 
the last movie or two, and mak- 
ing them more like they were in 
the TV series. And, in fact, that's 
probably true. They're probably 
right about that," Piller admits. 

"In Picard's case, I personal- 
ly missed — as a viewer — that 
part of Picard that had always 

third and fourth seasons, that we were 
doing high-concept, thrill ride-type 
episodes on Voyager. I was constantly on 
their case about that. Decisions were made 
to sort of move away from the character- 
driven, moral and ethical dilemmas that I 
had really championed. I missed those 
kinds of stories. The introduction of Seven 
of Nine [Jeri Ryan], I thought, was extraor- 
dinarily well done and really helped the 
series this last year. The best episodes were 
those that involved her conflict with 
Janeway [Kate Mulgrew]. That was not just 
a product of Seven's interesting dilemmas, 
but they also showed us a side of Janeway 
that we hadn't seen before that I thought 
helped her character. 

"Seven took up the role that the Doctor 
[Robert Picardo] had originally played— 
■.that of the observer of human nature that is 


villains in this piece. 

hologram, and took him out of Sickbay. I 
always felt, as I did with Data, that it's the 
limitations that make characters interesting. 
Nobody really wants to 
see Spock [Leonard 
Nimoy] turn into an 
emotional, human-like 
character. So, I've had 
my ups and downs with 
Voyager. But I can tell 
you this: Brannon has 
done a marvelous job 
this season." 

One day nearly two 
years ago, Piller's 
phone rang. It was 
Berman, who had ini- 
tially hired Piller for 
Next Generation. 
Berman, keeper of the 
Trek film gate, wanted 
to know if Piller might 

been a philosopher, the ethical moral leader 
of our universe, the center of a family — his 
crew — w ho would follow him to the ends 
of the universe because of his moral leader- 
ship. Patrick felt that in the last movie he 
had evolved away from the TV char- 
acter into more of an action hero, and 
that I was taking him backwards. He 
was uncomfortable with that, feeling 
that a film required a different kind of hero. 
I had no problem with what the other 
movies had done, but I wanted to add back 

Besides writing 
Insurrection, Piller 
produced and wrote for 
Next Generation and co- 
created DS9 and Voyager. 

r /f/ 

-. • • • ■: ■ 

M ////// 

"It's the limitations that make 
characters interesting." 

into the mix the things that I felt the audi- 
ence really respected about Picard, why 
they fell in love with him in the first place. 

"The same is true with Data. I was not a 
big fan of the emotion chip. [It brings to 
mind] the Rhoda Effect. Rhoda [played by 
Valerie Harper] was the most popular sup- 
porting character on The Mary Tyler Moore 
Show. They spun her off, and Rhoda was 
the number-one show for a year or so. Her 
whole character was about being lovelorn. 
Finally, they decided to have the great wed- 
ding and that was the number-one rated 
show on TV that week, and the show died 
after that. I always felt that there was a great 
risk in giving Data what he longed for, and 
that the emotion chip came dangerously 
close to that. I was worried about that 
Rhoda Effect. I wanted terribly — and 
[director] Jonathan Frakes agreed, as did 
Rick — to get back to Data's Pinocchio 
quality that made him beloved in the first 

"So, I really wanted to sidestep the 
whole issue of the emotion chip. I didn't 
want to do anything with it. Rick was tired 
of it and didn't want to go back to it," Piller 
continues. "Brent said, 'My charac- 
ter's evolving like the last two 
movies didn't exist.' So, we did 
make a cursory mention of the 
emotion chip. For the most part, 
there are struggles that, as a writer, 
I expect to have with actors. I came 
with a very strong vision of what I 
wanted to see these characters be, 
say and do. The actors have their 
own strong opinions and certainly 
are as close to their characters as 
any living, breathing person. The 
arguments that we had were extra- 
ordinarily valuable to the end prod- 
uct. To me, Picard winds up being 
in one of the most interesting posi- 
tions he has ever been in, and the 
big-screen audience will get to see 
Data as they've always loved him." 

"Ultimately," Piller says, 
"Ru'afo became a unique 
villain who is driven by both 
the bitterness at being 
wronged and a desperate 
need to survive, to gain the 
magic that's part of this 
planet, as he and his people 
grow older. Anyone who is 
getting on in years will rec- 
ognize the motivating fac- 
tors in Ru'afo. It's the same 
factor that makes me put my 
Rogaine on in the morning, 
and that makes my wife and 
I work out two or three times 
a week, and that makes net- 
works look for the 18-35- 
year-old demographic. It's a 
youth culture. We can all 
identify with the villains in 
this piece. 

"On the other side of that 
is Anij. She's named after an 
old girl friend of mine. She 
is a woman who looks 35 or 
40, but who has lived 300 

I i ■ 

I * 


After 300 years of tranquility, Anij (Donna Murphy) 
allows "young" upstart Picard to stir passion in her 
and defiance in her people. 

Star-Studded Cast 

Piller is just as effusive when discussing 
the genesis of Insurrection's three main 
guest characters: Ru'afo, the Son' a leader, 
played by F. Murray Abraham; Anij, the 
Ba'ku woman who comes to trust, love and 
transform Picard, portrayed by Donna Mur- 
phy; and Admiral Dougherty, the powerful 
Federation figure, brought to life by Antho- 
ny Zerbe, who's either doing right for all the 
wrong reasons or wrong for all the right rea- 
sons. "Ru'afo was originally based on Dou- 
glas Fairbanks Jr. in The Prisoner ofZenda. 
He was not going to be the head villain. He 
was first described as a typical Romulan, 
but one with an amoral sense of humor, who 
would sell anyone out for the right price. 
That went away, along with many other 
things, as we evolved the story. 

years, and has the wisdom of a 300-year- 
old woman. She doesn't trust easily, but is 
won over by Picard's resolute, heroic 
morality. She's someone who doesn't fall in 
love easily, but ultimately finds something 
special in Picard that makes him irre- 
sistible. She teaches Picard to look at life in 
a new way, based on the insight these aliens 
have had from living for hundreds of years. 

"That leaves Admiral Dougherty. He's 
absolutely convinced that what he is doing 
is right. I love villains who think that 
they're doing the right thing. He looks at 
Picard and thinks to himself, T can't 
believe you're even considering the other 
side of this argument. How can you bother 
with these people on the planet when all 
this magic dust is going to help billions of 
people? Can't you see it?' I told Zerbe to 

play him as a hero. In the Admi- 
ral's own mind, he is the hero of 
the piece. You could make an argu- 
ment in another movie that it is the 
guy who's willing to throw out all 
the rules and the laws of the land 
and do what is right who is the 
hero. So, Zerbe got to play 
Dougherty from that standpoint. I 
had a good time writing all of these 
characters, but most of my affec- 
tion was saved for writing the reg- 

As the conversation comes to a 
close, it's clear that Piller enjoyed 
his Next Generation return 
engagement, but he knows not 
what the future holds. More Voy- 
ager scripts, perhaps? He's not 
sure, but he won't rule it out. Right 
now, it's on to other projects, such as a 
"spy-action/comedy-adventure" he's devel- 
oping for Showtime, and a number of series 
pilot ideas he hopes to pitch to the major 
networks. His thoughts always come to rest 
firmly with Star Trek. "I'm very happy with 
the Insurrection script, but we went through 
a very interesting process to get there — so 
interesting that I'm writing a book about 
screenwriting that takes you through all the 
stories and threads of stories that were 
thrown away," he explains. "It takes you 
through the first draft, which was dreadful, 
to the final draft, allowing the reader to 
walk a year-and-a-half in my shoes." 

But will Michael Piller script another 
Next Generation film? 

He laughs. "That's in the hands of other 


In the first cut of Star Trek: Insur- 
rection, F. Murray Abraham's alter- 
ego Ru'afo died a much more 
fitting death. Rather than being 
blown to bits at the end as Patrick 
Stewart was safely beamed away, Ru'afo 
was originally jettisoned into the rings sur- 
rounding the Ba'ku homeworld, where, in 
an elaborate morphing sequence, he 
aged backwards, from Ru'afo to 
Abraham's own face, to a younger 
man and finally to a teenager before 
vanishing in a white-hot glow. It was 
the ultimate, ironic comeuppance for 
the ultra- vain Son' a leader. 

"Conceptually, the original end- 
ing was very interesting, but it appar- 
ently wasn't compact enough," states 
Abraham. "It didn't have enough of 
a button, I guess. I don't know. I did 
a couple of extra days of reshoots, 
with Patrick and me on the scaffold- 
ing. That was touchy. Running 
around on that scaffolding, three 
floors off the ground, was very scary. 
Fortunately, Patrick is in great shape 
and I'm in good shape, too. They had these 
big, tough men hiding behind the pillars. In 
case of any accidents, they would reach out 
and grab you. 

"I'll tell you something that happened. 
The phaser fire is all added afterwards, as 
special effects. I was supposed to be shoot- 
ing and I didn't know it, but [you're not 
supposed to] make any noise when you 
£ shoot. They stopped me twice while we 
I were shooting. I said, 'What's the mat- 
ter?' They said, 'You're making nois- 
es when you shoot the phaser.' We 

Abraham holds immortality hostas 


were always playing jokes on each other, 
and I thought they were kidding me, so I 
said, 'Oh, OK, we'll do it again.' We did it 
again and they said, 'Cut!' I said, 'What's 
the matter? I don't believe you. I want to 
hear it.' Do you know what I was doing? 
Kew! Kew! I was making shoodng noises. I 
swear to God. I couldn't stop myself." 

Sinister Son'a 

Abraham couldn't resist accepting the 
role of the dreaded Son'a leader, either. An 
Oscar-winner for his masterful portrayal of 
Antonio Salieri in Amadeus, Abraham's 
other credits include All the President's 
Men, Serpico, Scarface, The Name of the 
Rose, The Big Fix, Surviving the Game and 
Last Action Hero, as well as the genre out- 
ings Beyond the Stars, Mimic and Slip- 
stream. So the question is, with such a list 
of serious roles on his roster, why choose to 
play the stretch-faced alien? "I don't 


know," Abraham replies, laughing. "I guess 
it's a release. It's a chance to have some 
fun. It truly is. I don't think Ru'afo is pure 
evil. There's some humor in him. Pure evil 
doesn't know any humor. Ru'afo does have 
a sense of humor and he's passionate. I 
tried to give that feeling that he does have 
an intimate relationship with those women 
around him. He considers himself 
a stud; he thinks he looks great. 

"Also, with Star Trek, I was 
working with some very good 
actors. It was amazing. They were 
so instantly welcoming. I don't 
know how to explain it. I can tell 
you this, I really hated to leave. I 
almost cried on my last day. Real- 
ly. They were a little formal with 
me at first, because they didn't 
know me and because of my... rep- 
utation, whatever that is. We got to 
starting each day with me telling a 
joke. 'It's time for Murray's joke!' 
They would stop working, I would 
tell a joke, then we would begin 
work. Every day." 
The admiration seemed mutual, as 
director Jonathan Frakes was delighted 
with Abraham. "Anthony Zerbe came in 
and read for Ru'afo," Frakes explains, "and 
he gave a wonderful, bizarre, flamboyant 
reading. Then, Murray Abraham became 
available and we offered the part to him. 
We had all seen Amadeus, and it didn't hurt 
to have him in our movie. But we didn't 
want to lose Zerbe, so we gave him Admi- 
ral Dougherty. Murray showed up with all 
of his guns loaded. I think he's the 
best villain we've had in any 

Ru'afo gives new meaning 
to the term skinhead — but 
Insurrection wasn't % 
Abraham's first genre trek. 
The actor also appeared in 
Slipstream and Mimic. 

Star Trek movie." 

Heading into Insurrection, Abraham 
admits, he was not very familiar with Star 
Trek: The Next Generation, He was, however, 
quite aware of the classic Star Trek series. "I 
never missed the show when it first came on 
the air. What my friends, the people I hung 
out with, couldn't get over was how it was 
different from what else was out there. I grew 
up with movies. They were double features, 
with trailers, cartoons and serials. It was nine 
cents to go to a movie in El Paso, Texas. I 
guess it was how you got kids out of the 
house for the whole day. Flash Gordon was a 
part of our lives. 

"When Star Trek came on, it was a revela- 
tion to us. They changed themes and the 
ideas completely from one week to the next. 
What you had was a group of people on 
board a spaceship who might never have 
been able to come together on Earth. We 
were entranced. What's remarkable is that 
the old Star Trek shows are still popular. 
That's extraordinary. And who ever dreamed 
it would become this? I mean, Star Trek DO. 

"I do a film a year, at least, in Italy. I have 
for about 20 years now. I know some 
extremely sophisticated Romans there. I've 
known these people for a long time. When I 
told them I was doing Insurrection, they 
came out of the Star Trek closet. I had never 
known, until I told them I was going to do 
Star Trek, that they had action figures. One of 
them was a diplomat! 'Don't tell anyone,' he 
said. Why not? My kids were very excited, 
too. They said, 'Oscar, yeah. But action fig- 
ures!' And they're 27 and 28 years old." 

Genre Treks 

But Insurrection is not the first of Abra- 
ham's fantastical forays into the genre. 
Beyond the Stars focused on an ex-astronaut 
(Martin Sheen) idolized by a young, aspiring 
astronaut (Christian Slater). Slipstream envi- 
sioned a world of the future in which nature 
has forced the population into hiding, away 
from the perpetually fierce winds of the 

film's title. Finally, in Mimic, Abraham 
played the mentor to an entomologist (Mira 
Sorvino) out to exterminate a colony of 
mutated insects she helped breed that threat- 
en mankind's survival. 

And what are Abraham's opinions of his 
SF adventures? "Beyond the Stars really had 
nothing to do with science fiction, at least in 
terms of my character. I was in a wheelchair 
and sighting whales. Mimic was just a 
cameo," the actor explains. "I was very 
impressed with Guillermo Del Toro, the 
director. He's a young man to watch. 

"In terms of imaginativeness, I suppose 
Slipstream comes closest to what science fic- 
tion is about: How humanity continues to 
survive, how the human qualities we strive to 
maintain exist no matter where we go. I liked 
that idea. It's a good movie. Ben Kingsley 
was in the film, and I don't know how people 
could tell us apart. Mark Hamill is a very 
underrated actor. 

"I can tell you an interesting story about 
Slipstream. I was doing some [Anton] 
Chekhov — with Brent Spiner, by the way — 
we were doing The Seagull, and he was play- 
ing my son. I was making about $200 a week 
Off-Broadway at the Shakespeare Festival. 
My agent said, 'Murray, they want you for a 
day in Paris [to do Slipstream].' I said, 
'That's great, but I'm doing this play for 

Orchestrator of evil. Besides Ru'afo, 
Abraham dabbled in deviltry as Amadeus' 
sinister — and Oscar-winning — Salieri. 

$200 a week.' My agent said, 'They want to 
pay you $100,000 for one day.' 

"I said, 'Well, how am I going to get over 
there? I've got to get back, too. [Legendary 
Shakespeare Festival producer] Joe Papp 
will not let me miss a performance, and he 
would be right not to.' I said if they could get 
me on the Concorde after the matinee on 
Sunday, do the shoot on Monday and get me 
back in time for Tuesday's performance, I 

would take their $100,000. Can you believe 
it? Can you believe that figure? They said, 
'It's done, they'll get you on the Concorde.' 
It was all very sexy and wonderful. I did this 
one shot. That's all it was. I played this guy 
with a lot of makeup, like Ru'afo. It took 
four hours to get into the makeup. My char- 
acter was suffering from something that did- 
n't allow me to be in contact with anyone 
else. I was in this tiny little chamber, glassed 
in, and I had this three-page monologue. I 
looked like a really awful Howard Hughes. 

"I said, 'No rehearsal. Let's shoot the 
rehearsal!' We got through it," he continues, 
"and they said, 'OK, that's a print. You're 
wrapped.' I said, 'What about insurance? 
What about backup? You're going to have to 
fly me back out here — it was like $6,000 
each way — if you don't have what you need.' 
They said, 'No, we've got it.' I was through 
before lunch, got on the plane and got back 
home in time for the next show." 

Timeless Roles 

Always a busy actor, Abraham has tack- 
led a recent slate of projects that have taken 
him across the globe. Last year, he appeared 
with Betty Buckley in the Broadway musical 
The Triumph of Love. He traveled to Italy to 
shoot Excellent Cadavers, a drama (co-star- 
ring Chazz Palminteri) about the breaking of 
the Mafia that will air on HBO this year. "I 
did a film in South Africa that's about Laurel 
and Hardy," says Abraham of For Love or 
Mummy, featuring Bronson Pinchot as Lau- 
rel and Gailard Sartain as Hardy. "That I did 
for fun. I went to Morocco to play 
Mordechai in The Story of Esther, and I also 
did [the upcoming NBC mini-series] Noah. I 
play Lot. They've juggled the Bible so that 
Lot is Noah's best friend. He's a severe 
reprobate and, of course, Noah's one of 
God's favorites. Jon Voight is Noah, and we 
actually shot it on the same location [in Aus- 
tralia] where Patrick Stewart shot Moby 

For all of Abraham's success, it seems he 
has never capitalized as fully as he might 
have on his Oscar. Did the award, in some 
way, pigeonhole the actor? "It did and it 
does. It has all been good as far as the Oscar 
is concerned," Abraham says in closing 
"I've heard people complaining about them 
and I can't imagine it. It has just been noth- 
ing but fabulous for me and my family. We 
struggled. I was on food stamps at one point 
in my life. And you never forget that. I was 
42 years old when I won the Oscar. It made 
things tremendously easier. I would like 
another one and another one and another 
one. It can pigeonhole you, but there are 
some actors that it has never pigeonholed. 
I've only done bad guys for a long time now 
and, for the first 15 years of my career, I 
almost only played comedy. They wouldn't 
even consider me for anything else. Now it's 
mostly bad guys and I think, 'Come on, I can 
do other things.' I think it's fate. I've tried to 
do other kinds of roles. You take what comes 
your way." F. Murray Abraham laughs. "It's 
a gypsy's life." "$Sf 

50 STARLOG/Mo;r/( 1999 

Explore the History of Science Fiction in 

' i (•''wauuoi ■ 1 

Order now while issues last! 

Note: All issues include numerous articles & 
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With the powers she possessed, Lynda 
Carter spent four years in satin tights, 
fighting for our rights & Nielsen ratings. 

returned to America with him (after erasing 
his memory of Paradise Island with a drug). 
Before long, as Wonder Woman, she was fac- 
ing Nazi spies out to steal an advanced bomb 

In 1977, The New, Original Wonder 
Woman left ABC for CBS and became a 
weekly series entitled The New Adventures of 
Wonder Woman. Its third pilot, written by 
Stephen Kandel and directed by Alan 
Crosland, took place 32 years after WWII, 
with the immortal Princess Diana having 
long since returned to Paradise Island. She 
again discovers a downed U.S. aircraft on the 
island, this time carrying government agents. 
One passenger, to Diana's amazement, 
appears to be a youthful Trevor. The agent is, 
in fact, the original Trevor's dead ringer of a 
son (also played by Waggoner), who works 
for the Inter-Agency Defense Command 
(IADC). Diana resurrects her Wonder 
Woman persona and teams with Trevor Jr. to 
combat evil, assisted by IRA (a.k.a. Internal 
Retrieval Associative), a talking computer 
who knows her true identity. 

Though producers Wilfred Baumes, 
Charles B. FitzSimons and Mark Rogers 
worked on the various shows, it was execu- 
tive producer Douglas S. Cramer, a one-time 
Paramount Pictures Television producer 
responsible in part for such hits as Love, 
American Style, Mannix and Room 222, who 
initially retooled Wonder Woman to match 
Moulton's classic image. 

According to Cramer, the key to Wonder 
Woman's success was four-fold, starting with 
the Ugly-Duckling-into-a-Swan transforma- 
tion. "There really was the sense that this 
plain, ordinary woman Diana Prince could 
turn into someone special like Wonder 
Woman. This aspect, which gave hope to 
many who were without hope, was really at 
the heart of the show's appeal." 

Next, there was the non-lethal content. 
"Virtually no one was ever really killed on 
the show," Cramer says. "People would get 
tossed and even shot at, but no one would 
ever die. They would always bounce right 

Another component was the mythical 
Wonder-Land aspect. "Wonder Woman's 
heritage, her coming from another place 
[Paradise Island] was equal to the Superman 
mythical, extraterrestrial origins. That con- 
cept has always appealed to people." 

Finally, and most importantly, there was 
the Women's Liberation element. "We have 
to remember that the series appeared just as 
women in our country were really beginning 
to voice their emancipation. In many ways, 
Wonder Woman was a sign of the times." 

Co-Star Camp 

But sultry super-suffragettes do not a 
series make. Enter Waggoner, the handsome 
romantic-comedy veteran of The Carol Bur 
nett Shw, who played both the WWII/lying 

ace Trevor and his secret agent son. Wo, 
Woman writer Stanley Ralph Rossi an 
acquaintance of Waggoner's, wrote Tf vor 
with him specifically in mind. "He called me 
and told me so." recalls the actor. "He said. 
'This is the perfect Lyle Waggoner part.' " 

"Lyle was always so chipper on the set," 
says Carter. "I think because his business got 
off to a good start." Waggoner, while filming 
Wonder Woman, began Star Waggons Inc.— a 
manufacturer and supplier of studio location 
trailers that's still the top choice of most Hol- 
lywood production companies. "He was also 
just a really content and happy guy. All that 
joy and excitement bubbled over into his per- 
formance " 

Ida Day George guested on 
The New, Original Wonder Woman 
as "Fausta, the Nazi Wonder 
Woman," trapping the amazing 
Amazon in her own lariat. 

"He was ideal," notes Cramer. "With his 
good looks, leading-man ability, years of 
experience and comic polish from the Bur- 
nett show, there was no one better to fit the 

"In fact," Cramer adds, "all those cast 
around Lynda were essentially comedic 
actors. We had Richard Eastham [as General 
Blankenship] and Beatrice Colen [Corporal 
Etta Candy], and they were each tremendous 
at playing camp, and adept at comedy." 

Despite the Ross connection, Waggoner 
had to audition. "And I almost didn't get it," 
he laughs."I knew it was a cartoon, and that it 
was a put-on, but you had to play it with a 
;ht face. You, had to say siHy lines serij 


Gone was the uniform that Yeoman Prince 
had worn during WWII, along with her mili- 
tary cap and hair tightly done up in a bun. 
After a few episodes in the present, Diana 
Prince now looked more glamorous, sporting 
only glasses as a ruse, and soon she was not 
wearing even those; her raven tresses were 
likewise only swept back in a pony tail. 

"I always felt silly playing Steve in those 
moments," Waggoner admits. "To look 
straight at Diana and not be able to say that I 
recognized Wonder Woman, now that took a 
bit of acting. I just think the show would have 
stayed on a lot longer if they had left her 
fighting Nazis. It was so much more fun." 

Where's an 
invisible jet 
when you 
need one? 

ously, and hopefully make the viewer at 
home smile." 

Waggoner's tongue-in-cheek perfor- 
mance fit perfectly the "war-corn" premise of 
the 1940s Wonder Woman, and he was "quite 
fond" of those early shows. But the second 
season saw the war's end, which did not 
please Waggoner. "They should have kept it 
the way it was," he says. "The entire laugh- 
at-yourself view of the show was gone when 
we moved into the 1970s. There were not 
many shows at the time that took jibes at 
themselves like we did. It was unique, and I 
was sorry to see all that altered." 

One alteration Waggoner couldn't get 
used to was ?he change in the^Prince disguise 

Heroic Auditions 

Carter entered the hero biz 
through Alan Shane, head of 
casting for Warner Bros. 4 
Shane introduced Carter to 
Cramer, who was responsible for * 
her getting the part. "She was so 
far ahead of any other actress up 
for the role," insists Cramer. 

Unfortunately, ABC didn't 
agree, preferring someone 
with more experience. 
"There were those at ABC," 
Cramer notes, "who felt that 
Lynda could not have carried a show of her 
own, because she had not previously appeared 
in a series. But the minute she stepped into that 
wild costume, I knew — and we all knew — that 
we had found our Wonder Woman." 

That included co-star Waggoner, who had 
screen-tested with all the actresses audition- 
ing for the amazing Amazon. "Lynda, in my 
opinion, looked the part. And I don't know 
how much weight that carried, but that was 
my suggestion." 

Cramerihowever, was»easily Carter': 

staunchest supporter. He even refused, at one 
point, to produce the series if it didn't feature 
her. "Unless I get to cast this girl," he restates, 
"you can forget it. She is Wonder Woman. 
She resembles her exactly, she can pull it off. 
and there's just no point in doing it without 

In the beginning, 
disguised as a 
blonde, Diana 
entered a 
tournament to 
compete for 
the right to 
justice in 
the man s 


Ironically, Carter had tested for— and of 
course didn't get— the first Wonder Woman 
pilot. "I didn't even get a callback for that 
one," she says. But eight or nine months later, 
when Cramer set out to revamp the concept, 
Carter's phone rang, and an interview for the 
second pilot was scheduled. 

"I walked in," Carter recalls of the confer- 
ence, "expecting, of course, that anyone who 
was anyone in television would be there. And 
they were, the whole gang: Farrah Fawcett, 
Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Suzanne 
Somers, Lindsay Wagner, Cheryl Ladd. We 
all went to the same auditions, at the time. 
None of us had done that much, just a couple 
of commercials and small parts on various 
shows. Kate was really the only one with any 

In some comic book incarnations, Wonder 
Woman's red button earrings could 
translate any language for their wearer, 
but the series never explored this angle. 

extensive experience [i.e., The Rookies]. The 
interesting thing is that we didn't have to do 
a cold reading, which I've never been too 
fond of anyway. I never won a role from 
doing one. I'm terrible at them. I freeze up." 

It didn't matter. Cramer had warmed up to 
an early screen test of Carter's, and told her it 
was unnecessary for her to audition. "So, I 
just went home." the actress says, "very 
keyed up and excited. Here I was, this brand 
new actor, just starting out and studying, 
without anything but a couple of bit roles to 
my name, and Doug was ready to cast me in 
the lead. He really went to bat for me, and I 
was thrilled." 

As was ABC when the second Wonder 
Woman pilot became a hit. Periodic one-hour 
specials followed, broadcast by the network 
to fill in for its other superheroine. The Bion- 
ic Woman (temporarily off the air while Wag- 
ner recuperated from an auto accident). 

Before she became a film star, a 
young Debra Winger traded terms 
of endearment with Diana, as kid 
sister Drusilla— 
Wonder Girl 

Throughout the s_ 
roles both naughty and nice on Wonder Woman. The guest list includ 
ed such STARLOG fan favorites as Roddy McDowall, Rene Auberjonois, 
John Colicos, Robert Hays. Marc Alaimo, Anne Francis and David Hedi 
son as well as Ross (The Wild Wild West) Martin, Fritz Weaver, Martin 
Mull Eve Plumb & Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch), Bradford Dillman 
Tim (Buck Rogers) O'Connor, rock heartthrob Rick Springfield, Red But 
tons, Henry (Laugh-In) Gibson, John Hillennan, Ed Begley Jr. and leg 
endary DJ Wolfman Jack. 

Debra (Terms of Endearment) Winger made a brief career stop on 
Wonder Woman as Drusilla— younger super-sister to Diana Prince 
Winder became so popular that after only two guest shots, she was receiv 


ABC passed on the show after two years. 
"They believed the WWII storylines were too 
limiting," Carter says, "with the only major 
villains being the Nazis. They thought if we 
took it into the 1970s, there would be more to 
explore, from a creative standpoint." 

Jerry Lieder, then-president of Warner 
Bros. Television, went to CBS with the 
notion of shifting the series ahead in time. 
CBS bought the idea hook, line and magic 
lasso. "It was a fresh approach," admits 
Cramer, who was initially afraid of the 
change, "which CBS thought would reach a 
wider audience. Because, at the time, the 
other superhero shows, like The Incredible 
Hulk [also on CBS] and The Six Million Dol- 
lar Man [ABC], seemed more real in com- 
parison, if you can imagine anyone saying 
such things about SF-adventure shows." 

Cramer believed it was the campy WWII 
version that first appealed to viewers, and 

told Lieder that "there was no way to play it 
straight in a contemporary setting, and that it 
must be produced with its tongue firmly 
implanted in its cheek. Those first [WWII] 
episodes are the ones people still talk about 
and remember the most." 

After talks between Lieder and Cramer, 
the idea was sold to CBS. The network exec- 
utive in charge of series production at the 
time was programming whiz Brandon Tar- 
tikoff, who, Cramer notes, "also understood 
exactly what the concept of Wonder Woman 
was supposed to be. 

"Many people involved with the show," 
adds Cramer, "were just really grown-up 
children. We had writers like Bruce Shelby 
and David Ketchum [who penned dozens of 

Amazon agility made crashing through 
plate windows a breeze for Wonder 
Woman, but for Carter, scenes like this 
one were safer left to a stunt double. 

The Addams Famiiys Carolyn 
Jones didjaThemiscyran stint 
as the Amazon Queen in The 
j New, Original Wonder Woman. 

sion today, including The X-Files." 

Ron (Tarzan) Ely guested in a '70s 
Wonder Woman segment titled '"The 
Deadly Sting" as well as a 1995 episode 
of Carter's syndicated Hawkeye. "He was 
great to work with both times," Carter 
enthuses. "And he's such a big guy. In 
Hawkeye. he played this evil character 
who had to pick me up over this wagon. 
He lifted me up like I was a feather. I felt 
like a piece of balsa wood." 

Sports legends also guested. In "Light- 
Fingered Lady." the able Amazon was 
supposed to fling Bubba Smith aside, but 
the ex-football star initially refused the 
scrimmage. " 'No woman is going to toss 
me around.' " Carter recalls Smith saying. 
" 'Aw. come on." I replied. Til show you 
what I'm going to do. It's a dip-under- 
your-shoulder type-of-thing. You can just 
lift yourself up, sort of sideways.' 

"Well, when we did the scene," Carter 
adds. "I flipped him over on his back, and 
everyone on the set stared in shock." 

—Herbie J. Pilato 

As alter-ego Diana Prince, TV's Wonder 
Woman had no special powers. Bad guys 
took advantage of this on a regular basis. 

, American Styles for Cramer at Para- 
mount]. They had never done one-hour 
drama shows before, and they needed the 
story and dramatic beats worked out for 
them. But they brought the humor to Wonder 
Woman that I thought it required." 

Also aboard from Love, American Style 
' was Stuart Margolin (Angel from The Rock- 
ford Files) who directed several Wonder 
Womans. Other behind-the-camera talent 
included directors Seymour (Bewitched) 
. Robbie, Alexander Singer, Michael Caf- j 
fey, Jack Arnold, John Newland, Gordon j 
Hessler and the late Herb Wallerstein. 

"Herbie was always a frustrated 
director," Cramer states, "so we let him | 
direct Wonder Woman, mostly because 
'his particular sense of the world was 
right for the show. He had the passion 
that we all shared. We were all very clear 
on the show's vision, and respected that 
vision. We were all very particular on what 
. Wonder Woman and Steve would or would 
not do. There were often long, detailed dis- 
cussions about [whether] she, under one cir- 
cumstance with one particular villain, would 
or would not use, for example, her magic 

"The one thing that we didn't do, that I 
always wanted to do," says Cramer, "is run 
with more regular heavies, as on Batman. But 
everyone was really afraid of doing that." 

Cinematic wonders 

Today, with countless old TV shows rein- 
carnated as movies, can a theatrical version 
of Wonder Woman be far away? 

"It has been in development at Warner 
Bros, for four or five years," says Cramer. "I 
' tried to sell it myself on a number of occa- 
sions, but I kept on getting turned down, 
because I'm not known in the feature film 
world. Now, however, Jon Peters is develop- 

A costume change 
marked the move from '40s 
to '70s. The embroidered eagle 
xbodice shown here gave way to a 
Wjee schematic pattern, and the 
briefs got briefer! 

In Charles 
Moulton's comic, 
Wonder Woman's 
compelling lasso 
was forged of links 
from her mother 
Hippolyte's girdle. 
In the series, a 
golden rope did 
the trick. \ 

ing one" with director Ivan (Ghostbusters) 
Reitman. At one point, Lois & Clark's Debra 
Joy Levine was developing a Wonder Woman 
TV project. 

If he could be part of a Wonder Woman 
revival, who would Cramer cast in the lead? 
"I would definitely go with an unknown," he 
replies. "It would be a huge mistake to go 
with someone like a Jennifer Aniston, God 
help us, or a Cameron Diaz. The strategy 
must be like it was when we did the series 
with Lynda, who was an unknown, or like 

when they remade Superman." 

So would Carter slip back into those Won- 
der Woman togs for a feature film version? 
"You never know how things will turn or 
what's around the corner," says Carter, who 
lives in Washington D.C. with her husband, 
lawyer Robert Altman, and their two chil-^ 
dren, James and Jessica. "Wonder 
Woman has always had a life of her own, 
L for whatever reason. Why it reached 
into the hearts of so many people may 
never be fully explained." 

Carter still gets lots of fan mail, 
including "a wonderful letter" from a 
woman who, in a college thesis, i 
named Wonder Woman as the inspire- I 
tion for her career. "She came from an J 
underprivileged background," Carter^ 
explains, "and she went out and W 
attained what she wanted in life H 
. because of Wonder Woman. It all I 
I stemmed from when she first watched I 
' the show as a little girl, when the ideas ofJ 
who she wanted to be, coupled with her h 
determination to be that person as an adult, ■ 
were just forming. I was overwhelmed." 

The actress views her experience on Won- I 
der Woman as "a phenomenon unto itself. I ■ 
enjoyed doing the series," she says, "espe-^ 
cially the stunts, and that twinkle-in-your- I 
eye humor. We never made fun of anything, | 
but we had fun with the material. 

"I'm grateful for everything that the show I 
has allowed me to do as a performer," saysJ 
Lynda Carter. "Wonder Woman gave me my I 
start. She was the big hand up that helped me I 
to realize all of my dreams, and all of the I 
things that have happened, subsequently, I 
withmy career [singing, TV movies, videos, I 
a Maybelline cosmetics contract]. I was"^ 
young and somewhat naive back then. Yet 
what I learned was substantial, and it was all 
because of Wonder Woman'' 

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I don't think anybody ever thought / would wind up in space," 
chuckles Supernova star Lou Diamond Phillips. But the actor, 
who first landed big success with La Bamba and made an 
impressive comeback with Courage Under Fire and The Big Hit, 
thinks he knows why he isn't selected for SF roles. "People have 
always thought that they don't have people who look like me in 
space. My reaction is, 'What's going on with that?' " 

True or not, what's important is that Hollywood has finally taken the 
hint. Supernova, an SF epic due out his fall, features Phillips as lovestruck, 
flawed and somewhat phobic medical technician Yerzy Penalos. He's part 
of a blue-collar crew of medical technicians who stumble upon alien terror 
while on a deep space rescue mission. As eager as Phillips was to try the 
genre, he laughingly admits it took some time before he really warmed up 
to Supernova. 

"It was strange, a really odd evolution," recalls Phillips. "This started 
way back when another director [Geoffrey Wright] was attached to this 
project. They sent me the script and asked me to take a look at Yerzy. I did 
not find the role interesting in the least. It really wasn't on the page. There 
was nothing for the character to do. I said I wasn't interested and passed on 
it. A month went by and suddenly Walter Hill was to direct the film. They 
sent me the script again and asked if I would take another look. The char- 
acter of Yerzy was only slightly different. I said, 'I would love to work with 
Walter Hill, but there's really no role here for me.' " 

Phillips figured that was that. But he didn't count on Hill's persistence. 
"I got another message asking if I could come in and read for another char- 
acter. Well, I'm happy to read for Walter Hill any day of the week, so I 
went in, read for this other character and left. Then, Walter calls me again 
and says, 'Look, this role of Yerzy is going to get better. You have my 
word.' He did a real selling job on me. He faxed me some new pages and 
there it was. I had one more conversation with Walter and said, 'That's it. 
I'm in.' " 

Star Booms 

Despite the constant revisions to the Supernova script, Phillips has 
found Penalos very much to his liking. "Yerzy is not a superhero. He's a 
blue-collar guy, a very normal person who's very flawed, and I like that." 

Phillips also likes the fact that the revised script develops Penalos' 
human qualities. "Yerzy is a man who is very much in love," the actor says. 
"He has found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with and 
have babies with. And he's about to take the steps necessary to achieve this 
when they're both thrown into this situation that's going to block his ulti- 
mate goal. What develops in space for Yerzy and Danika [Robin Tunney] 
is something that couldn't have taken place on Earth. On Earth, they would 
never have ended up a couple, because too many forces were conspiring 
against their relationship. But in space, each is the best the other can get." 

Penalos has more on his mind than love amid the alien terrors. There is 
also his very real fear of dimension jumping, the favored mode of inter- 
galactic travel in this 21st century drama. The actor found that his own 
fears helped him portray the stressed-out Penalos. 

"Dimension jumping for Yerzy is like a fear of flying. I don't think any- 
body in their right mind would want their molecules spread throughout 
space, hoping that they're going to come back together in the right config- 
uration. Portraying that fear turned out to be easy for me, because my wife 
has an intense fear of flying that begins days before she has to fly any- 
where. In this movie, Yerzy gets the news immediately, and he's like, 'Oh 
God ! In 30 minutes I've got to go through this? Are you kidding me?' Trust 
me, in this movie, I play scared real good." 

The actor candidly reports that Supernova, acting-wise, has had its 
share of difficult moments. "For the first week or so, it was hard for me to 
get into a groove on this film. We're shooting in LA, on a studio lot, and I 
get to go home at night and be with my wife and kids. When you're on 
location, you're at camp in this isolated community, and it's much easier to 
live and breathe your character all the time. Here there's a sense of, 'OK, 
I'm going to go in, punch the clock and then go home and live my life.'" 

He also acknowledges that "while this is the easiest shoot I've ever 
been on, in a strange way it's also the most difficult. 

"From an acting point-of-view, this is difficult because sometimes it's 
a lot easier to focus and do the work when you feel like you're under the 

offers LOU 


a change off 


60 STARLOG/Miii/i 1999 

Power Photos: Copyright 1989 Orion 

"# don't think 

anybody in 

their right 

mind would 

want their 


space, hoping 
that they're 
going to came 
bach together 

in the right 
configuration. * 

gun. Supernova has such a relaxed set 
that I really have to jack myself up to 
get deeply into this character. Walter 
is the most relaxed director I've ever 
worked for. Which doesn't mean he's not in 
control of what he wants out of his actors 
and this film. He's very much about the 
work. I asked him early on if it was OK if I 
had a better way of saying something or 
wanted to ad-lib. He said, 'Yeah, as long as 
it's OK for me to say no.' Needless to say, I 
haven't abused the privilege and haven't 
been writing monologues for myself." 

Phillips indicates that the best moments 
for him have been those where the character 
has acted extremely human. "This is more 
of a psychological film than a being- 
chased-by-a-creature movie. And because 
of that, our best moments have been those 
scenes where we're faced with a great sense 
of loneliness and we're forced to bond. Peo- 
ple react to situations differently, and that's 
what makes these scenes fun to do. Given 
that the script is being written as we go 
along, we've managed to build some inter- 
esting characters and have gotten some very 
honest, human stuff down." 

Booming Stars 

While Supernova is the actor's first 
foray into star-flung SF, it isn't his first 
genre outing. That honor belongs to The 
First Power (1990), in which Phillips 
played an LA detective on the trail of ulti- 
mate evil. "It was a great script and a great 
character — really scary stuff. I got to run 
around and be this action hero. And it 
made quite a bit of money. In fact, for a 
while there was talk of a sequel. But while 
it was a success, it was not the blowout 
success the studio had hoped for." 

The First Power was one of the high 
points for Phillips, who, fresh off La Bamba 
and with films like Renegades and Young 
Guns to follow, was already being groomed 
as the next big thing in Hollywood. But by 

"Hollywood didn't know what to do with 
me," says Phillips, a former leading man 
now content with character roles. 

the mid-90s, Phillips' star had begun to 
fade, and he was soon reduced to parts in 
direct-to-video B-movies. The actor, with 
his trademark candor, explains what hap- 

"I've distilled it down to a very sim- 
ple equation: There's a period in every 
actor's life where he evolves, going 
from the hot young thing to the sopho- j 
more jinx. I had reached a point in my = 
late 20s where I hadn't become the 
classic leading man, but I was too old 
to be a young leading man. Hollywood 
didn't know what to do with me." 

Phillips waxes appreciative when it 
is suggested that, during his B-movie 
slide, he was the best thing about some 
very questionable flicks. "During that 
period, I took some things just to pay 
the bills," he confesses. "I was going 
under the assumption that my early 
work had brought me some tenure and 
that certain things were going to come 
to me. The realization I finally came to 
was that things don't come to you. . 
This town has a short memory, and the 
fact is that for many people in Holly- 
wood, you're only as good as your last 

He eventually found the key to 
turning around his career. "I finally 
said, 'Wait a second! Why aren't the 
good roles coming to me, and why am I not 
getting a shot at them?' My manager's 
response was 'Lou, everybody thinks they 
know you and what you can do. They think 
they have an assessment of your work.' 
When, in fact, they really didn't. He told me 
I had to prove myself again and to start S 
going up for roles that nobody expected me 
to get." 

His first step in that direction was to play 
the heavy in Courage Under Fire. "They | 
already had Denzel Washington and Meg I 
Ryan, and they weren't looking for any ; 
more names. So I went in and fought for the 
role and got it. It was the same way with j 
The Big Hit." 

Phillips soon discovered he enjoyed 
character roles. "I was playing realg 
screwed-up characters in both of those flimsy 
and I loved it. In The Big Hit, I was anj 
absolute asshole, and my character inj 
Courage Under Fire makes one mistake and 
it costs him his career and his life. Those 
kinds of roles are very interesting to me." 

Supernova's Penalos clearly fits that- 
bill. "This has been special in many ways. 
My enthusiasm for this film has grown I 
every single day. Things are literally flying 3 
off the script pages. What we're creating is : ; 
really amazing," he says. 

A bright future may be in store for Lou j 
Diamond Phillips if Supernova scores stel- 
lar numbers at the box office this fall. And! 
that always generates talk of a sequel — ori 
does it? Considering Supernova's alienl 
rampage slant, not everyone will make it j 
off the station alive, and Phillips refuses to| 
say whether he is part of the body count. 
"Do I die? I can't tell you that," he avers. "ItJ 
would destroy the surprise. Whether I do orf 
do not die doesn't really matter. This is sci-l 
ence fiction. I can always be cloned." 

-STA R.WA RT Action 



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is mind's ear, 
Kevin Bacon hears the 
Stir of Echoes. 

crane-mounted camera advances over theater 
seats in Joilet, Illinois' lavish Rialto Theater, 
coming to rest on a lone figure. A hand reaches 
out to touch the figure's shoulder. It turns, 
revealing itself to be a ghostly apparition. 

Or at least that's the idea. And Kevin 
Bacon waits good-naturedly on the set to 
lend a hand — literally — to the scene. The 
actor stars in Stir of Echoes, adapted from 
the 1958 Richard Matheson novel (entitled 
A Stir of Echoes), and scripted and direct- 
ed by David (Jurassic Park) Koepp. Bacon 
plays Tom Witzky, a blue-collar worker 
who becomes embroiled in the mystery of 
an otherworldly presence he sees after 

being hypnotized at a neighbor's party. 
The actor, relaxing between takes, has a 
bit of difficulty in classifying the film, as it 
incorporates mystery, science fiction, fan- 
tasy and other genres. 

" 'Horror film' always pops into mind," 
says Bacon, "because David told me, 'You 
know, it's a horror film,' but it's not a hor- 
ror film in the sense of, say, a slasher 
movie. There's a big difference between 

slasher movies and horror films. And call- 
ing it a ghost story almost feels too soft, 
because it's definitely an edgy, dark movie, 
[considering] what the characters go 
through, and the darkness and extreme- 
ness of the visions. The mystery that 
they're trying to uncover is one that has a 
lot of horror — these ghosts, these visions, 
these nightmarish experiences. The audi- 
ence isn't told everything right up front. 
Part of the fun is unraveling that mystery." 

Ghostly Tremors 

Bacon, who has appeared in such genre 
fare as Apollo 13, Tremors, Friday the 13th 
and the offbeat Pyrates, says another spec- 
tral film he starred in may best compare to 
Stir of Echoes. "Flatliners is probably the 
closest. Friday the 13th is a little bit differ- 
ent from this film." 

But Stir of Echoes didn't win the actor 
over with its otherworldly storyline; the 

64 STARLOG/A/arc/z 1999 

complexity of its hero was 
what captivated Bacon. "I 
don't really look for movies 
according to their genre," he 
says. "You can make good 
and bad movies in pretty 
much any genre. There are 
good slasher movies, good 
action movies and good 
comedies; there are bad love 
stories and good love stories. I 
don't like to limit myself as an 
actor, in terms of just being 
known as a guy who works in this 
or any kind of genre. I thought the 
character was interesting. Even if 
you took out the ghost elements, I still 
find what's going on in this guy's life 
interesting. He's having a mid-life crisis 
and really wishes he had done something 
different with his life. He loves his wife and 
kid, but he's not ready to father another baby. 
He's moving into his father's neighborhood, 
and he's not sure he really wants to become 
his father." 

Bacon enjoyed working with Koepp, who 
is directing his second feature (after The 
Trigger Effect) following a screenwriting 
career that includes Jurassic Park and its 
sequel. The Shadow and Mission: Impossible. 
"From the first time we sat down, Dave was 
supportive, and you can't ask for more as an 
actor," says Bacon, who appreciates Koepp's 
flexibility. "He's very unpretentious about his 
own material, which is sometimes unusual 
for a writer/director. They're often very pro- 
tective, and sometimes that makes it hard A 
for them to get any kind of perspective 
But Dave has done so much work on 
big films and had so much experi- 
ence, it has given him a really good 
perspective on how to direct his 
own stuff. 

"If anything, sometimes he 
toys with his own stuff a little too 
much — sometimes he doesn't 
know when to back off and just 
say, 'OK, this scene really does 
work the way it is.' He's always 
thinking. He has a tremendously 
positive attitude, always gives me the 
right, choice little things to do. I love 
working with him, and I would love to 
work with him again. 

"I had a lot of suggestions for my character; 
Bacon adds. "From the time that I came on 
board, a few months before we started shooting, 

we've been communicating about the character 
and story. I never get any kind of a vibe from 
him like, "This is not your job.' He's very open. 
But if he thinks it's a bad idea — which a lot of 
times, it is — he'll tell you." 

In addition to those genre roles, Bacon's 
long and varied career also includes musicals 
(Footloose), action thrillers (The River Wild). 
heavy dramas (Sleepers) and comedies (She 's 
Having a Baby). Bacon has played the lead in 
many of his films, but has also taken smaller 
roles in ensemble casts that included heavy- 
weights like Jack Nicholson (A Few Good 
Men) and Robert DeNiro (Sleepers). And 
although Bacon is the lead in Stir of Echoes, 
appearing in almost every scene, he still 
enjoys mixing up playing lead roles with 
ensemble work. 

"I like to go back and forth on that," says 
Bacon. "There are times when I feel I'm 
ready to that plunge again [with a lead], 
but I also enjoy a supporting role. I've been 
able to have a career where I continue to 
have the option of doing both, and that's 
something I really like. Many times in play- 
ing the lead, there's less character there to 
play than when you're one of the other guys. 
So I look for character leads. That's what 
Tom Witzky is — a character lead. He's from 
a specific place and going through a 
very specific experi 

While the actor is happily committed to 
his craft, he isn't thrilled about doing public- 
ity. He recognizes, however, that it's part of 
the job. and acknowledges that much of the 
promotion for Stir of Echoes will be his 
responsibility when the movie opens in the 
autumn. "To a very large extent, it will fall on 
me," says Bacon. "That's just the way it is. 

"I can handle the work and the work-relat- 
ed pressure: that's always fun. I like to work 
and I like to feel like I've got a big job to do. 
The pressure comes with the film's release, 
and that's what I often have a distaste for. 
Suddenly, after you've had this experience — 
this purity in making the picture — it then 
becomes about testing it and seeing how the 
audience responds, and marketing it, and the 
press, the box office, positioning it, and a lot 
of stuff that really does feel like pressure. 
When the picture's coming out, it feels like 
my ass is on the line. When I'm making it, 
though, I enjoy it." 

Stir of Echoes has its share of green screen 
work, but despite his extensive genre credits, 
Bacon is not tremendously familiar with 
effects. "I've done some, but I haven't done 
all that much," the actor admits. "In Tremors. 
we had very little blue screen. It was almost 
all puppets, animatronics, very little of what 
we think of today as FX shots. We did 
things like dig a ditch, put 
a big ball in it, 

Blue Men Group. Stellar actors Bill Paxton, 
Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Bacon 
prepare for their star-crossed space flight 
in Apollo 13. 

beginning, his wife lets him 
know she's pregnant with 
IV their second child, and he 
realizes that his life's 
dreams are slipping away 
from him. That's where 
his mind is at when this 
phenomenon occurs." 
As Witzky deals with 
his nightmarish experi- 
ence, his reactions convince 
his wife, friends and neigh- 
bors that he's going mad, but to 
aeon, Witzky is anything but 
deranged. "I don't play him as 
insane — that's the one thing I don't do," 
says Bacon. "Essentially, you try to think 
about the specifics. I don't say, 'OK, I'm 
gonna go crazy. I'm going to do some crazy 
thing.' I chew a lot of aspirin in this movie, 
which is kind of a nutty thing to do. When I 
asked Dave why he wanted me to chew these 

know if there is [any such thing as the para- 
normal], I don't know if there isn't. I'm pret- 
ty cynical, but every once in a while I go, 
'Hmm...I don't know...' Things surprise me. I 
don't have a strong burning desire not to 
believe, but I'm skeptical. I'm a paranormal 

Witzky is unlike any character Bacon has 
played in the past, and that suits the actor who 
never wants to repeat himself, just fine. "I don't 
really compare my characters to each other," he 
observes. "Maybe because my worst fear is to 
do the same role twice. The last thing in the 
world that I would ever want to do, for exam- 
ple, is my character from JFK again." 

When selecting a role, Bacon also looks 
for more fully realized characters. "I'm inter- 
ested in screenplays where there is something 
specific about a character," says Bacon. "For 
example, I really like a character to have a 
sense of place. It bugs me when [a screen- 
writer] never really says or intimates where a 

"My worst fear is to do the same role twice. 

cover it with dirt and drag it to make it look 
like the monster was moving underground — 
simple stuff. There was very little — almost 
no— CGI stuff." 

Even Apollo 13 was light on the FX where 
Bacon's character was concerned. "Very little 
green screen. A lot of that was just live," he 
explains almost apologetically. "I haven't real- 
ly done all that much of this kind of stuff." 

Phantom Dreams 

Witzky, the protagonist of Stir of Echoes, 
is an ordinary guy in distress even before he 
confronts his extraordinary situation. "He's a 
guy having a mid-life crisis," explains Bacon. 
"He wishes that he had played rock and roll, 
that he had been able to stick to his music 
career. But he has rent to pay and a job and 
responsibilities. He's living not too far from 
the working-class neighborhood he grew up in 
with the same kind of guys, and wishing 
that he was a bit outside it. At the picture's 

aspirins, he said, 'According to serious alco- 
holics who get bad hangovers, if you chew 
aspirin, it makes its way into your blood- 
stream a lot quicker.' It breaks it up immedi- 
ately. Tom has been having these raging 
headaches, and that's my very simple justifi- 
cation for chewing aspirins — it's making the 
headache go away. So you just do something 
like that. It's a little bit kooky and odd. 

"I also think that he's very driven. He has 
to find out some answers, and the rest of the 
world is looking at him like, 'Why are you 
obsessing about this thing?' But he has to — 
he doesn't have any choice. Only once in a 
while does he actually look at himself and 
think, T may be a little crazy, but I can't help 
it. I must find out who this girl is and what 
happened to her. I've got to do something 
about this stuff going on inside my head.' " 

Despite the supernatural elements in Stir 
of Echoes, Bacon confesses that he doesn't 
hold much stock in the paranormal. "I don't 

person is from. [I've discovered] in this coun- 
try, from all the traveling I've done, that there 
are certain kinds of people from certain kinds 
of places, and they tend to move and sound 

"Also, if a character is very evil, then I 
like for him to have another side — kind of a 
yin-yang thing. I like to see the good in that 
person, or at least some kind of an indication 
why he is the way he is, a charm or a vulner- 
ability to counter-point the evil. If the charac- 
ter is essentially a good guy — which my 
character is in this movie — then I want him to 
have some demons. I think that's the nature 
of the human condition, that we're all walk- 
ing around with a little fire inside us. I prefer 
for the character, if there's time, to actually 
go through something, to have some kind of 
an experience. A stupid thing — and we 
always talk about it in the movies — is the 
'character arc,' but it's important to see a guy 
start at point A and end up at point B or C." 

66 STARLOG/Marc/i 7999 

- 1 

Acting Spirits 

But Bacon, who is equally convincing 
playing a likable hero or a despicable villain, 
could find few redeeming qualities in the 
sadistic prison guard he portrayed in Sleepers. 
"That was about the worst. I gave up trying to 
find anything likable about him because his 
crimes are so heinous — that's the exception 
that proves the rule in terms of what I was say- 
ing," says Bacon. "'I just went, 'The guy's a pig 
and I can't really find anything likable about 
him.' But if you look at the character in The 
River Wild, for instance, he's a bad guy, but 
he's also charming. He's sick and terrifying in 
the right situation, but you can't show your 
hand in the movie in terms of that situation, 
because you have to make it believable that 
someone as smart as Meryl Streep is going to 
put herself in the guy's hands and actually be 
kind of attracted to him. I try to carry that other 
side when I'm playing it." 

Like his characters, Bacon too has experi- 
enced his own arcs. In the wake of John 
Glenn's return to space, the actor confesses 
the initially reluctant respect he acquired for 
NASA while making Apollo 13. "Unlike Tom 
Hanks, Bill Paxton and Ron Howard, I was 
not a big NASA fan," says Bacon. "When I 
was growing up, I was into ending the Viet- 
nam War and rock and roll, and they didn't 
exactly go hand in hand with the space pro- 
gram — which was considered a part of the 
industrial-military complex. But in playing 
the part, and all the research we did — espe- 
cially spending time with Dave Scott, an 
Apollo astronaut and our technical advisor, 
who I really came to admire and was helpful 
in making the movie — really instilled in me 
an appreciation for the space program. 

"It's great that John Glenn went back up. 
It's fantastic, and if it brings more good PR to 
the space program, then so be it. We have to 
keep moving out, exploring and testing the 
limits, it's important. But I hope that it goes 
along with the understanding that we must 
take better care of this planet. The astronauts 
have talked about getting off Earth and look- 
ing back at it and how precious it is, and 


Though Tremors had 
Bacon dancing; 
around some hungry 
animated worms, the 
movie hjad far fewer 
green screen effects 
than does Stir of 
Echoes. . 

that's encouraging, because it's 
probably the most important 
issue — at least it's the most £ 
important issue to me — of the jk 
Millennium. We are ruining A 
our planet, and it's hard to get mL 
people to think about it in this jgg 
country when the economy's 
good. Getting out there in 
space and looking back makes 
you say, 'We gotta take better 
care of it.' " 

The crew is ready to shoot 
again. Bacon, hand at the ready, is 
called to resume his place for the next 
shot. But before he goes, the versatile 
actor is quick to note that he has no desire 
for such similar paranormal adventures. 
"Definitely not!" says Kevin Bacon. "My life 
is weird enough as it is! Day-to-day it's great, 
but living in a fishbowl is still a strange way 
to spend your time. What I look for in my life 
is normalcy, not abnormalcy." -^g 

Is Witzky trying to bury his past or 
resurrect his dreams? Bacon's 
answer is pragmatic: "He's a guy 
having a mid-iife crisis." 

STARLOG/Marc/? 1999 67 


with Love 

Completely custom made, this is an 
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The replica features ejecting dummy 
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It has been created directly from the 
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©1975 Danjaq, Inc. & United Artists Corporation. All Rights Reserved 
007 gun symbol logo © 1962 Danjaq, Inc. and United Artists corporation/All Rights Reserved 

Collector's Society 

Man 6 With 
Golden Gun 

The replica can 
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The James Bond film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN introduced 
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H simulated golden bullet with 007 is also included and can 
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Like a bad penny, always 
turning up, here I am again, 
possibly not making sense. 
Longtime readers may recall that 
in 1996, after 11 fun-filled years 
of writing STARLOG editorials, 
I made Liner Notes a highly 
irregular feature. Thus I exited 
stage right while I still had some- 
thing to say (or so I would like to 
think) and I devot- 
ed all that extra 
time to lots of 
other endless pur- 

This column 
most recently 
resurfaced in #250 
to list a few books 
of note, but there 
wasn't enoush 

space for other matters. Like per- 
sonnel arrivals & departures. 
First, Managing Editor Lia 
Pelosi, back for a second tour of 
duty following a sojourn at Mar- 
vel Comics, left to enter book 
pubhshing (#233). We miss you, 
Lia. How about a third stint? 

Then, Managing Editor Marc 
Bemardin exited (#240) to 
become an Assistant Editor at 
Entertainment Weekly, for whom 
he occasionally reviews genre 
items (Spawn, Vampirella, etc.). 
Watch for his byline — which I 
hope is gonna change. See, Marc 
and the lovely Sue Savage (she's 
a saint) are at long last engaged. 
And what better byline than 
Marc Savage? Now there's a 
name for a two-fisted action 

Managing Editor Michael 
Stewart departed (#248) to join 
the Book of the Month Club as a 
writer/designer. If you're a mem- 
ber, you've seen his uncredited 

work in the club's regular bul- 
letins. And maybe you've even 
seen him — Mike's pictured back- 
ground right in the BOMC staff's 
holiday greeting photo (the 
December 1998 guide). He's the 
smiling tall guy wearing glasses. 

My heartfelt thanks to all 
three for their great work — espe- 
cially under more-relentless- 
deadline war 

Joining the 
team in the front 
lines of the sci- 
ence fiction uni- 
verse are 
Managing Editor 
Keith Olexa 
(#240), who truly 
is an evil twin 

(ask anybody), 
Discarding , . J .' 

his STARLOG and Associate 
sn j rt Editor Jeanne 

Outburst Provost (#249), 
suits up for who's smarter 
super-action, than all of us (but 
keeps that mostly 

to herself). 

Meanwhile, over at DC 
Comics, where three earlier 
STARLOG Managing Editors 
work — I gotta tell you, it's neat 
to have such a legion of proteges; 
it's like being Professor X or, 
more likely. Magneto — there has 
been some editorial shuffling. 
And now STARLOG vets are in 
charge of the Man of Steel. 

Eddie Berganza (#166) — who 
also edited DCs exciting line of 
Tangent Comics — is the Editor 


STARLOG (see page 19). She 
also co-edits Secret Files. Addi- 
tionally, on her own. Maureen is 
responsible for DCs third most 
important character. "I can't 
believe it!" she exclaims a lot. 
"I'm the Editor of Wonder 

Mike McAvennie (#188) 
continues as Editor of the other 
supertitles — Superboy. Supergirl, 
Supennan Adventures (my 

of Supennan. Supennan: Man of 
Steel. Adventures of Superman, 
Action Comics and of course, 

His Associate Editor on those 
titles is Maureen McTigue 
(#201) — who still contributes to 

favorite DC Comic) — and Legion 
of Superheroes and Legionnaires. 
Mike's also on hand here as our 
longtime Gamelog columnist 
(since that irregular feature 
began). (Incidentally, Mike's 
Assistant Editor is Frank Berrios, 
a non-STARLOG graduate. He 
gets an honorary "I Missed 
Deadlines with Dave" button 
anyhow.) I'm happy to note that 
Mike and the lovely Aine Bren- 
nan (she's an Irish saint) are at 
long last engaged. 

You know, I am immensely 
proud of every one of these edi- 

Just coincidentally — really — : 
DC artist Georges Jeanty recent- 
ly underscored all this in the 
pages of Supennan #142. As you 
can see at left, before Outburst 
leaps into action as one of the 
Supermen of America, there he is 
in his secret identity, stylishly 
outfitted in his classic STAR- 
LOG T-shirt. 

Bob Greenberger was the 
founding Editor of COMICS 
editorial staffer, he wasn't a 
Managing Editor. Nevertheless, 
he also works at DC Comics. 
Bob has teamed with Trek novel- 
ist Michael Jan Friedman to 
assemble Q's Guide to the Con- 
tinuum (Pocket, trade paperback, 
$16), an irreverent look at the 
Star Trek Universe from Q's 
unique perspective. 

Speaking of Trek, the beloved 
Grace Lee Whitney joins the 

crew members who have penned 
their memoirs with The Longest 
Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy 
(written with Jim Denney, fore- 
word by Leonard Nimoy, trade 
paperback, S 14.95). Grace Lee. 
as anyone who has met her at the 
many cons she does each year 
knows, has had an amazing life 
and. incredibly, has survived its 
triumphs and trials. She tells a 
truly uplifting story in this very 
candid chronicle from Quill Dri- 
ver Books (8386 N. Madsen 
Avenue, Clovis, CA 93611). 
Order direct from the publisher 
by calling 1-800-497-4909. 

As for our writers: Pat 
Jankiewicz and the lovely Lisa 
Orris (she's a saint and a photog- 
rapher/contributor to STARLOG) 
wed in August 1996. Congrats! 

In June 1998, Ian Spelling 
and his lovely wife Linda added 
to their family a daughter, Jamie 
Leigh — not named after the Virus 
heroine (or so Ian steadfastly 
alleges). She joins a mischievous 
brother, Max. Congrats to all. 

Meanwhile, Bill Florence is 
lucky at cards. In fact, he's writ- 
ing the text for several Star Trek 
trading card sets from Fleer/Sky- 
box. Debuting last fall was Star 
Trek: Voyager Profiles. Coming 
late this spring is Bill's next card 
Trek, recalling DS9's Greatest 
Moments. Look for them. 

Lucy Lawless 


Marc Shapiro 


If it's 1999, it must be time 
for another two or three books 
from Marc Shapiro. Marc scored 
early last year with Total Titanic 
(Pocket, paperback, $5.99). 
Then, Mr. Prolific chronicled 
Xena's off-screen life in the 
unauthorized Lucy Lawless, War- 
rior Princess. Currently, he's 
represented in bookstores with 
Love Story: The Unauthorized 
Biography of Jennifer Love 
Hewitt (both bios are from 
Boulevard, paperback, $5.99). 
Marc also wrote Pure Goldie: 
The Life & Career of Goldie 

Cover Art: McFarland 

Tom W eaver 

Hawn (Carol, hardcover, $21.95), 
though no one is sure why. 

Ubiquitous film historian 
Tom Weaver contributes uncred- 
ited liner notes to select video, 
laserdisc and DVD releases from 
Universal Home Video and 
DreamWorks Video. And McFar- 
land & Company has issued 
another of Tom's interview col- 
lections. These volumes contain 
exhaustively complete, really 
long Q&A transcripts of Tom's 
interviews seen in abbreviated 
form in magazines such as 
(which seldom publish all of any 

Weaver talk). The latest entry, 
Science Fiction & Fantasy Flash- 
backs ($38.50), features Edward 
Dmytryk. Gene Evans, Alex Gor- 
don, John Badham. Jackie Joseph 
and others. 

McFarland has also re-issued 
one of its very best books, Keep 
Watching the Skies!, the all-but- 
definitive examination of '50s SF 
films by our own Bill Warren. It's 
now in trade paperback ($35) and 
cheaper, so buy it. No excuses. 
It's essential. Relatively new in 
hardcover from McFarland is 
Bill's Set Visits ($38.50), which 
collects in Q&A form the count- 
less interviews Bill did while vis- 
iting various genre film sets for 
other magazines. McFarland 
books can be ordered directly 
from McFarland, Box 611, Jef- 
ferson, NC 28640-061 1 (website: or call 
1-800-253-2187. Shipping for 
one book $4; 75 cents per addi- 
tional volume. 

Three other past contributors 
have new volumes on the 
shelves. Jeff Rovin. a former col- 
league of STARLOG Creative 
Director Bill Mohalley at 
Famous Monsters of Filmland, 

did what's apparently the last 
interview with Buster Crabbe for 
STARLOG #76. Rovin's new 
novel Vespers (St. Martin's Press, 
hardcover, $23.95) sends giant 
mutant bats to ravage New York 
City — not necessarily a bad idea, 
now that I think of it. It's a best- 
seller and has already sold to the 

Animation expert Michael 
Mallory — who did a number of 
pieces for COMICS SCENE— 
has chronicled those masters of 
TV animation in Hanna-Barbera 
Cartoons (Levin Associates, 
$60), a profusely illustrated 240- 

page hardcover extravaganza. It's 
filled with interesting stuff on 
The Jetsons. Jonny Quest, The 
Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Tom & 
Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi 
Bear and many more — focusing 
on the work of Bill Hanna, Joe 
Barbera and their animated col- 

And finally, Scott Bruce — 
who detailed SF lunchboxes and 
cereal premiums in STARLOGs 
past — has unleashed Cereal 
Boxes & Prizes: 1960s (Flake 
World Publishing, softcover, 
$29.95, call 1-888-R-U-FLAKE 
for distribution info or log on It's the first of 
a projected trilogy of colorful 
Tribute/Price Guides with vol- 
umes on the 1970s and '80s to 
follow. There's no question that 
Scott knows more about krispies. 
toasties and sugar pops than any 
human should. You'll enjoy his 
book with a little milk and sliced 
bananas as it delves deep into all 
things cereal. It'll help you 
answer that burning question that 
has haunted mankind since time 
immemorial (or at least since the 
'60s): Quake or Quisp? 

You be the judge. 

— David McDonnell, Editor 



The Kilrathi, a feline-humanoid race at war with the Confederation, attack and destroy an asteroid 

^ outpost and capture its NAVCOM computer navigation device. With it, they can jump 
^'^SS- behind Confederation lines and attack Earth. The Confederation's mission: 

a^fcmSi^iS^^^' retrieve the device and stop the Kilrathi before they make their move! 
«PmawS3jj£» Freddie Prinze, Jr., Matt Lillard & Saffron Burrows star in the new 

Jm^^^I^FS space epic from 20th Century Fox — and you can go behind the scenes 

in STARLOG's latest movie tie-in. Special FX, blueprints and designs, I 
exclusive interviews— they're all in this highly collectible magazine. I 

ORDER IT TODAY! $5.09 ' 


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20 Years Ago in 

CBS aired one of the most ambi- 
tious TV spectaculars ever 
attempted, The Star Wars Holiday 
Special. The original Star Wars 
scenario, penned by Rod Warren, 
Bruce Vilanch, Leonard Ripps 
and Pat Proft, ran for two hours, 
cost more than $ 1 million to pro- 
duce and had a taping schedule of 
an entire month — rather unheard 

of in the TV business. 
Article: Natalie Millar, issue #19 

"Stanley Kubrick and John Boor- 
man were supposed to try [to 
film The Lord of the Rings] along 
the way. But can you imagine 
what it would be like to try to 
brina J.R.R. Tolkien to the 

Leonard Nimoy invaded! 


screen in live actionT 

— Ralph Bakshi, director of 
the animated version 

Interview: Ed Naha, issue #19 

15 Years Ago 

"'I was overwhelmed by the 
movie [The Right Stuff]. They 
stuck pretty close to the book and 
that always flatters the author. 
I've seen it four times and I think 
it's pretty good — yet I guess I am 
biased. I did write the book." 

— Tom Wolfe 

Interview: Rachel Long, issue #79 

"I prefer The Empire Strikes 
Back of the three because it's the 
most stylish — although I still 
think Star Wars is the most 
important, since it was the inno- 
vator. Of course. I would have 
done Return of the Jedi different- 
ly. But it concluded the trilogy in 
a way that satisfied George 

^TV'S Computet Connection: THE WHIZ HPS" 

Lucas, and that's what counts. 
It's George's creation. I was only 
an interpreter." 

— Irvin Kershner. director, 

Interview: Steve Swires, issue #79 

10 Years Ago 

"It's the sign of a good show that 
people keep coming back [to see 
Phantom of the Opera]. They 
can't get enough of it. I hope they 
come back for a long time." 
— Dave Willetts (the Phantom) 

Interview: Lynne Stephens, issue #139 

"With Star Trek: The Next Gen- 
eration, we are not replacing 
anyone; we are simply what we 
are. For 25 years, I've been play- 
ing roles that actors have been 
playing for 400 years before me 
and that will be played by actors 
long after I'm dead. So, what is 
there to get upset about?" 

— Patrick Stewart 

Interview: David McDonnell, issue #139 

Five Years Ago 

"The potential exists for comput- 
er imagery to take over virtually 
every aspect of making a film, at 
least for inanimate objects, but 
how do you computer-animate a 
person's soul?" 

—Stephen Roloff, 

Interview: Peter Bloch-Hansen, #199 

"The movies still hold up after all 
these years. Almost everybody 
remembers one of the most phe- 
nomenal movie experiences they 
ever had, which was watching 
Star Wars, and the first time the 
Millennium Falcon made the 
jump into hyperspace." 

— Kevin J. Anderson, 
SF novelist 

Interview: John Vester, issue #199 

What If? 

Strictly speaking, Ayn Rand was not a 
science fiction writer, although her 
most epic novel, Atlas Shrugged, 
shows the collapse of our culture in the near 
future, and her novelette Anthem presents a 
suffocating society of the more distant 
future. All her stories dramatize philosophi- 
cal ideas and present admirable heroes, 
such as Howard Roark, the individualistic 
architect from The Fountainhead. I learned 
from one of Rand's lecture series one of the 
most critical techniques of fiction writing. It 
begins with asking yourself the question 
"what if?" 

In a 1940 short story, "The Simplest 
Thing in the World," Rand's hero — a starv- 
ing writer desperately trying to write some- 
thing likable and commercial that will pay 
the rent — has discovered that his own 
curiosity is his worst enemy. Curiosity leads 
him to write stories that veer away from 
popular interests. So he orders himself, 
"Don't think of the fantastic, don't think of 
the unusual, don't think of the opposite of 

what anyone else would want to think, 
but go after the obvious, the easy." As 
hard as he struggles to be ordinary, the 
writer always finds himself reaching for 
events and characters that are interesting 
and important. He tells himself, "It's 
because you ask yourself 'what if?' That 
starts the whole trouble." 

That has been Rand's experience, appar- 
ently. After Warner Bros, released The 
Fountainhead, a movie version of her novel 
starring Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal and 
Raymond Massey, Rand began thinking 
about her next book. She asked herself, 
"What if all the creative minds of the world 
went on strike?" Her answer, after more 
than 10 years of work, was Atlas Shrugged. 

In her writing lectures, she taught us to 
ask ourselves questions in terms of whatev- 
er excited our curiosity and interest. She 
taught us that all great fiction begins with a 
critical question. 
For example: 

What if an interstellar civilization, hav- 
ing visited Earth before humanity's rise, 
planted a warning beacon — a black mono- 
lith — on the Moon to alert the civilization 
to space-faring intelligence? That's Arthur 
C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," 
which mutated into the blockbuster Stanley 

Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

What if a visitor from another planet 
landed on Earth via flying saucer to deliver 
a life-or-death ultimatum to humanity? The 
answer might be the classic Edmund H. 
North script for the 1951 movie, The Day 
the Earth Stood Still, derived from Harry 
Bates' short story "Farewell to the Master." 

What if a multi-cultural starship crew 
was sent on a five-year mission to explore 
"strange new worlds"? In the early 1 960s, it 
was a question asked by a man fascinated 
by the unusual and the ideal. A man who 
believed his ideas for a show called Star 
Trek were compelling and important. 

What if a genetically enhanced tyrant, 
captured and "imprisoned" on a desolate 
planet, hijacked a starship years later to 
exact vengeance on his jailer? Well, you get 
the idea. It's the script for Star Trek II: The 
Wrath of Khan by Jack Sowards and Harve 

Sometimes a writer, or anyone creatively 
driven, will stumble on something that tick- 
les his or her own mind — and it might also 
fascinate the public — but that doesn't mat- 
ter. The important thing is that it all starts 
with "What if?" 

— Kerry O 'Quinn 


BURRnnn£j) in everh box; 


I 0 R t G I n R L SERIES 



co mine sthrdhte